Mackenzie McDonald continues to impress this week in Melbourne, and he looks to be an incredibly nice price again today as a slight underdog against South African Lloyd Harris.
One of the big knocks on McDonald has been his ability to close out matches at grand slam level against players nearer to the top of the rankings. It looked as though history had a chance of repeating in round 2, with McDonald up 2 sets to 0 on Croatian seed Borna Coric 6-4 6-2. McDonald had a break point in the 9th game which he was unable to convert, and was then broken from 30/0 to find himself in a fourth set. To his credit, the American was able to dig his way out of a couple of tricky service games early in the fourth, and pull away for the victory. While there may be some nerves associated with being in the third round of the Australian Open, the fact it is Harris at the other end of the court and not a seed should help.
Harris certainly made the most of the draw opening up, and the fatigue for Alexei Popyrin opening up that draw. He defeated Torpegaard in round 2, before facing Popyrin coming off his 5 set epic with David Goffin. He nearly made a meal of it as well, needing 5 sets to make his way past the Australian. Harris’ came still revolves heavily around his first serve, however I do still have some question marks over his ability and consistency over the longer format.
Much like his match against Coric, if McDonald can continue to be aggressive off both wings and hit his spots on his serve, he wins. The American’s ability to take the ball at pace early, and re-direct rallies, will take its toll on Harris over best of 5 sets. There is more value in this price over the best of 5 sets than there would be over the best of 3. McDonald has been to the third round and won before, and that little extra experience will also help, with Harris heading into unfamiliar territory.
4 units McDonald to defeat Harris at $2.23 (+123) at Topsport