Rublev vs Hurkacz (Approx 10:30pm AEST)
This one has me a little baffled, as I am not entirely sure how Hurkacz is sitting at odds of $5 in this match-up on clay.
Are we reading a little too much into Hurkacz needing 3 sets to get by Dan Evans in the first round? I think so. Evans is a tricky customer regardless of the surface, especially the way the courts are playing in Rome this week. If there is a player that knows just how tricky Evans can be, it is Andrey Rublev, who was comprehensively outplayed by Evans in the Western & Southern Open a couple of weeks ago.
I guess my big question here for Rublev is this: are we overrating Rublev on clay based on his performances on hardcourt recently?
Looking at the number:
- Rublev has a 15-18 record against Top 100 players on clay for his career. That improves to 11-11 when you only consider 2017 onwards.
- His record against Top 50 players is 5-6 since the start of 2017, with wins over Fabio Fognini (third set TB), Dominic Thiem (first tournament post-Wimbledon, and week before home tournament in Kitzbuhel), Paolo Lorenzi, Cristian Garin and Robin Haase (7-5 third set).
- His best tournament result in the past of clay was a runner-up in Hamburg, which generally falls in July in that transition period between WImbledon and the US hardcourt swing, with weaker fields than many other clay tournaments across the swing.
Overall, I was pretty disappointed in the performance on Rublev, who looked to be visibly frustrated on a number of occasions even with the match firmly in control. A warning for an audible obscenity was given to Rublev early in set 2, and to be honest it was Bagnis who was the aggressor for long patches of this match. The key game in set 2, Bagnis serving at 3-3, was effectively handed to Rublev, with Bagnis going double fault -> forehand unforced -> double fault to put himself on the back foot. In a lot of key moments it was unforced errors from Bagnis moreso than efficient, quality tennis from Rublev. He looked to be quite passive compared to what we saw on the hardcourts in the US, and to me he looks vulnerable at the current price below $1.25.
Hurkacz rise in the rankings over the last couple of years does make him a little hard to gauge in some capacity in terms of where his clay form stacks up. His 9-10 record on clay vs Top 100 opponents isn’t too dissimilar to Rublev, with the Pole taking sets over Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic and Borna Coric amongst others. His serve will actually work to his advantage today as well. We have seen some significant inconsistencies in the bouce on these courts, however this doesn’t appear to be as extreme on the outside courts. Hurkacz is able to fair amount of kick on his serve, which may really allow him to dictate points regularly in this match-up if we see a similar approach from Rublev to his match against Bagnis. Hurkacz is also an incredibly solid mover for his size, so if Rublev isn’t going to be as attacking it will allow Hurkacz to stay in rallies and look to take control on a semi-regular basis as well.
I have Hurkacz sitting just under $3 in this one, and that obviously makes the $5 currently available for him as incredibly enticing. An alternative selection here would be to take the total games over 20.5, however I have more value in the head to head price in my opinion.
2.5 units Hurkacz to defeat Rublev at $5 at Topsport
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