Ace Tennis Previews Free Play – August 29
A quick little public service announcement – for those who are still thinking about signing up, I still have an offer going to subscribe for the rest of my US Open Service. It runs until the 13th of September, and if you use the code USOPEN2018, you will receive a further $5 of the already discounted price.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
ATP US Open
Kubler vs Fritz (Approx 4am AEST)
Taylor Fritz put together one of the more remarkable comebacks in Round 1 against Mischa Zverev. He trailed 2 sets to 0 and a break in the third set, fourth set (twice) and fifth set, getting the job done 4-6 2-6 6-4 7-6 6-2 in just under 4 hours on court. It officially goes down as the longest tour match that Fritz has played in his career, having never previously won a match that has gone beyond 2 hours 45 minutes.
There are a few little things I want to highlight about Fritz’s performance the other day, as well as in the lead up to the tournament. The first is that Fritz was only able to win 58% of service points overall, against Zverev who is not renowned as a solid return of serve. On the receiving side, Fritz struggled to return the first serve of Zverev (can’t blame him), however was above average on the second serve return, winning 56% of points on the Zverev second ball. The stats do flatter Fritz somewhat, as Zverev well and truly fell away in the final set, with 18 unforced errors, and only 4/17 points won on his second serve.
The other main thing to note in the lead-up form of Fritz is that his results are largely dependent on the type of player across the net. Since the hardcourt swing started in July, Fritz has wins over Ramanathan, Kokkinakis, Jaziri and Zverev. Common theme? Some of the bigger hitters on tour. Fritz is a great player of pace, however when you take that away from him to an extent, things can start to fall down. His losses have included players such as Nishioka and Chung, two of the better movers/retrievers of the ball. He also lost to Krajinovic last week, however he falls into the category of a bigger hitter of the ball.
His opponent today? He is comparable with some of the players that have beaten Fritz recently.
Jason Kubler is probably the good news story of the tennis world over the last 12 months. After years of injury, and taking 18 months off from tennis and finding himself with less that $1 in his bank account, Kubler has put together a very impressive 9 months of tennis, surging his way into the top 100. A very talented junior, Kubler struggled with knee injuries throughout his early career, before giving things one last go on the hardcourts.
It all seems to be clicking for Kubler at the moment. A week after reaching the final in the Challenger event in Vancouver (lost to Evans in 3rd set tiebreak), Kubler backed it up with his first Grand Slam main draw win, defeating 22nd ranked Bautista Agut 6-3 6-3 6-4 in just over 2 hours on court. It was an impressive showing of Kubler’s ability to maintain a consistent level, earning himself 14 break point opportunities on RBA’s serve (converted 6) and only giving up 4 opportunities himself (saved 2). His court movement looked as good as ever, and his confidence in his shot selection off both wings looks as good as I have seen in the last 12 months. He isn’t afraid of playing big servers, and there is a particular match from earlier this year that stands out as a measuring point for today’s match.
The weather when these two take the court will be up there with the hottest for the day. The predicted temperature when they hit the court is 35 degrees Celsius (95F), which will sap the energy of both players the longer the match progresses. To be honest, I have very little concern with Kubler’s ability to handle the conditions, having watched him in the Playford Challenger in Adelaide in January. Conditions that week peaked at 46 degrees Celsius, and Kubler did not drop a set for the entire week, including a battle with big serving American Reilly Opelka in the aforementioned 46 degrees.
Whilst Fritz will likely have his moments and flashes across this match, I am comfortable siding with the consistent Kubler to be too strong over the 5 set format. At 20 years of age, there will be an element of carry-over fatigue from Monday’s 4 hour match for Fritz, and in a match where he will be asked to generate a lot of pace on his shots, I feel the longer the match goes the more it plays into the hands of the Australian.
I will make a split play across Kubler +3.5 games, as well as Kubler to win outright. I like the +3.5 games as it gives a little buffer, with the potential that it could even cover in the event of a Fritz 5 (or 4) set win.
Look for the Australian to wear down the American, and progress to the third round.
3 units Kubler +3.5 game handicap vs Fritz at $1.80 at Bet365 (and multiple other bookmakers)
2 units Kubler to defeat Fritz at $2.50 at Bet365