The Australian Open are officially underway and I’m hyped to join Steve in publishing some previews on his site again. Let’s start with a very evenly-matched encounter between Yannick Hanfmann and the talented young Australian Rinky Hijikata. The 21-year-old can surely count on some crowd support in the last match of the day on Court 8. Both players are in decent form to start the year. While Hanfmann won his three qualifying matches, Hijikata beat some decent players early in the season (Barrere, Duckworth) and also took a set off Denis Shapovalov in Adelaide. When looking at the stats, you probably won’t find a matchup that is closer than this one. Hijikata won more matches in 2022, but that’s mainly because he’s still at home at Challenger level while Hanfmann was playing a lot of ATP qualifiers. Over the last 52 weeks, Hanfmann and Hijikata are within 1% in all major parameters. Hanfmann holds 78.4% of his serves compared to Hijikata’s 79.1%. Hanfmann breaks at a 26.4% clip, Hijikata at 26.2% and even their ace rate is similar with Hanfmann serving an ace 5.8% and Hijikata 6.1% of the time. When markets opened, Hijikata has been an obvious underdog pick at 2.20, but I was looking at the over(s) here immediately. Hanfmann showed how to withstand the Aussie crowd when he beat a weary Thanasi Kokkinakis in round one here last year and being used to the courts after qualifying, he should ask the young gun all the questions. I don’t see anyone running away with this one and have the games total 1.5 games higher. Since I’m also showing value on the first-set over, I’m adding a half-unit play on that as well. Now good luck to everyone betting the Australian Open this fortnight!
0.5u on Over 10.5 games 1st set at 3.65 (+265) with Kambi
1u on Over 37.5 games at 1.85 (-118) with Pinnacle