H2H shows Isner can dominate at big odds
Easy for Popyrin
Moneyline parlay can deliver
Fritz can deliver a title surprise
John Isner to beat Adrian Mannarino 3-0 at +400 at bet365
Alexei Popyrin to beat Jason Tseng 3-0 at +125 at bet365
Over 37.5 games in Grigor Dimitrov v Aslan Karatsev at -110 at DraftKings Sportsbook
Tommy Paul, Matteo Berrettini and Benjamin Bonzi all to win in round one (moneyline parlay) at +155 at Caesars Sportsbook
Taylor Fritz to win the Australian Open at +2000 at BetMGM
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I think a few of you will find it somewhat surprising that Isner leads this head-to-head 8-0 in completed matches.
Look into the details and you find that Mannarino has broken the famous Isner serve just twice in those contests – he clearly has massive problems dealing with the 145mph bombs that the American sends down.
And his problems don’t end there.
Isner, one of the poorest returners in the top 100, got into the Mannarino serve.
In those previous meetings, Isner has broken 21.6% of the time. The stark contrast to his 2022 season average of 7.6% is stark.
Having seen those statistics, you’ll be less surprised to learn Mannarino has won just two sets against Isner in the past and with that in mind ‘Big John’ looks worth chancing at a tasty price of +400 (bet365) for a straight-set win.
The Greenset courts and Dunlop balls are expected to provide fairly slick conditions and that will only make it more difficult for the Isner serve to be returned and so we’ll keep fingers crossed that Mannarino is again unable to get much of a play on that delivery.
It could reward handsomely.
This looks like it could be pretty one-sided.
Playing at home in conditions that suit, Popyrin has started 2023 well, reaching the quarter-finals of the season-opening event in Adelaide where top-10 star Felix Auger-Aliassime was among his victims.
Tseng, meanwhile, has begun the season in miserable fashion, suffering heavy losses to Benjamin Bonzi (who won three games in Pune) and clay specialist Facundo Bagnis (who won six games in Auckland).
If their form continues in Melbourne, there will only be one winner and I’m happy to back Popyrin here to record a straight-sets victory at a best of +125 with bet365.
This could be closer than the layers expect with Karatsev’s big-hitting game capable of causing the favorite problems.
He made the semi-finals here two years ago and so will bring good memories to the court in Melbourne, having started the new campaign well with a run to the last four in Pune.
Dimitrov also caught the eye, playing some decent tennis at the United Cup team event where he was only beaten 7-6 in the third set by Stefanos Tsitsipas, one of the title favorites for this tournament.
Both previous encounters have seen both players win a set and if that happens again here then there’s a strong chance over 37.5 games backers earn a profit.
Putting together a few favorites for a parlay is a popular call by bettors, especially when there are so many matches on the coupon.
For Tuesday’s action, I’m going to back Tommy Paul, Matteo Berrettini, and Benjamin Bonzi all to win their first-round matches in Melbourne.
Paul faces Jan-Lennard Struff and has won their previous meetings in straight sets. The German came through qualifying but the level is about to rise significantly here.
Berrettini, the 13th seed, should have too much in his armor for former finalist Andy Murray, who isn’t the same threat since hip surgery.
And Bonzi will be buzzing having already made an ATP final this year, in Pune. He’s facing Mattia Bellucci, a player who has won plenty of lower-level matches but is yet to play a single one at a main-tour level.
The treble pays around +150.
Californian Taylor Fritz looks well set for his best-ever run at a Grand Slam tournament.
His excellent 2022 season featured a maiden Masters 1000 title in Indian Wells, included a quarter-final appearance at Wimbledon, and finished with qualification for the ATP Finals in which it took a certain Novak Djokovic to stop him in the last four.
Djokovic is the title favorite again here, hardly surprising given he’s won the title nine times before.
However, he’s been clearly troubled by a hamstring injury which was evident during his title success in Adelaide but, more worryingly, has disrupted his practice in Melbourne.
At odds-on, the Serb can be opposed and Fritz has the weapons to do it.
His big serve and forehand combination look ideal for the Australian conditions and he’s already proved that by going 4-1 at the United Cup, helping Team USA lift the trophy.
A full-fit Djokovic will likely win but Fritz looks like a worthwhile alternative given what we know.
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What - Australian Open tennis
Location - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia
Time - Monday, January 16 to Sunday, January 29
How to Watch - ESPN and Tennis Channel
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Andy is a sports journalist of more than 20 years’ experience and is a former betting editor of the UK-based website, Sporting Life. He has specialized in tennis for many years, previewing hundreds of ATP Tour events and reporting from tournaments such as the ATP Finals and Davis Cup final. Andy has also covered numerous other sports, with a particular interest in soccer and cricket.More info on Andy Schooler
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