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We've made it to the North American hardcourt swing, which could be the most exciting part of the tennis calendar. After a smaller tournament in Atlanta last week which ran alongside a clay-court event in Umag, we've got the Citi Open this week as well as action in Los Cabos.
Without further ado, let's get into some picks.
Miomir Kecmanovic (+110) vs. Brandon Nakashima (-136)
Surprisingly, these two have yet to meet on tour, but I do fancy the American's chances here in favorable conditions.
Kecmanovic is coming off a win over Jordan Thompson which is hard to put much stock into. The Aussie didn't really play a very good match, and the Serb was only able to find one break in the first and one in the second before Thompson essentially threw in the towel and gave him the third.
The thing with Kecmanovic is that he's only played that one match since Wimbledon and isn't quite in the shape or form he was in earlier this season when the tour was in the midst of its spring hardcourt swing. Nakashima, on the other hand, is.
The American looked unstoppable in his first two matches, and while those weren't against great players he did also make a nice run to the quarterfinals last week in Atlanta. He's very in-form at the moment and always dangerous on slow hardcourts. He should win.
Edge: Nakashima -136
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Holger Rune (-106) vs. JJ Wolf (-115)
Rune is only 18-17 for his career on hardcourts and 6-5 this season. He doesn't have the tour-level experience on this surface that he does on other surfaces, so when you break it down that way it's hard to really find an edge he has over JJ Wolf.
The American has a massive forehand that is arguably bigger than Rune's and he has figured out how to use it to perfection this season by taking a little bit off his grounstrokes and unloading at maximum effort when he needs to. His service is also bigger and more reliable than the teenager's.
Wolf had been struggling entering this tournament, but as he's done in many main draws he's brought his best game when the stage has been the biggest. He looked incredibly composed and impressive in taking out Denis Shapovalov and I think he's the more in-form player considering Rune's win over the volatile Benoit Paire was his first victory since the French Open.
Edge: Wolf -115