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We're into what is by far the strangest part of the tennis calendar. We're in the middle of the second clay-court swing while also beginning the US Open Series right here in the United States.
With three tournaments taking place simultaneously, there are plenty of ways to make money. Let's get into some bets.
Ilya Ivashka (+150) vs. Tommy Paul (-189)
He's played two matches against Jack Sock and Soonwoo Kwon, sure, but in winning those two bouts Paul has looked arguably better than ever. The hard work he's been putting in off the court is paying dividends; he looks incredibly fit and is showing off some killer rally tolerance. All the while, he's giving his opponents nothing and playing incredible defense.
We know Paul to be a superior talent in this match, and it seems his form and fitness are up to par here. Ivashka, on the other hand, has played two grueling matches in a row and at no point looked like the dominant force we've seen flashes of over the last couple of years.
The Belarusian has the tendency to lean on his serve and big ground game, yet the serve deserted him for two sets against Steve Johnson and his power is sure to be neutralized by Paul. It's a pretty bad matchup for Ivashka, who is fine from the baseline but isn't at his best when asked to play long rallies. I'm backing the American in what could be a rout.
Edge: Paul -2.5 Games
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Brandon Nakashima (-121) vs. Frances Tiafoe (+100)
Tiafoe has defeated Naksahima in all four meetings between the two, yet he's the underdog on Friday in Atlanta. That's no surprise, though, considering the American has been the underdog in the last three meetings.
He hasn't seemed to mind playing Nakashima whatsoever. He's overpowered him from the back of the court, toying with the American and winning net points in crucial moments. He dropped a set this year in Miami and last year in Acapulco, but it should be said that at no point in their last meeting did it seem Tiafoe was losing grip of the match.
This is simply a mad matchup for Nakashima, who lacks the variety and rally tolerance to hang with Tiafoe. This is the elder American's time to shine — he makes a living on the American hardcourt swing. I expect his strong tournament to continue, and for his dominance over Nakashima to persist. This is a number you have to take.
Edge: Tiafoe +100