2nd Round – Stan Wawrinka vs Hyeon Chung
Second round matches in the US Open continue this evening with the tournament getting off to a good start for followers of this column with Mardy Fish easily gaining the set required to win the main +2.5 set handicap bet against Feliciano Lopez yesterday.
Indeed, an emotional victory for the American veteran in his last professional tournament was on the cards with Fish twice a break up when 2-1 up in sets, and he served for the match at 5-4 in the fourth set, which would have given us a superb 4.00 winner in our smaller stake recommendation.
In a tournament where underdogs have thrived, I’m going with another one this evening in the shape of a youngster of very high potential – Hyeon Chung – against a top-ten opponent – Stan Wawrinka.
Chung came onto my radar in a big way last season when research for one of my articles pegged him as a young player to watch, based on his stats at a very young age. He’s developed very nicely this year, improving his ranking from 167 at the start of January to a current 72. He’s gained Challenger Tour titles on today’s surface, hard court, in Burnie and Busan, and was runner up on hard court in Launceston and Seoul. He also claimed the Savannah Challenger on clay, which bodes very well for his future ranking with all-court potential.
From March onwards, Chung has made some more frequent forays onto the main tour, and has gained wins over Marcel Granollers, Dudi Sela, Ivan Dodig and Benoit Paire amongst others. It is clear that his level is already decent from the calibre of opponents that he has defeated.
This is rubber-stamped by his ATP main draw stats in the last 12 months, which show 79.4% service games held and he’s broken opponents 27.5% in their service games (combined 106.9%). This combined figure is already top 20-30 level, albeit from a relatively small sample of 14 matches.
On hard court, Chung is 5-4 in ATP matches, holding 80.2% and breaking 34.3% (combined 114.5%), and whilst these close to elite level stats are a little unrealistic due to small sample size, it shows the unexposed upside that the Korean has in his matches in the near future.
As we’ve mentioned in many previews before opposing Wawrinka, he doesn’t have a magnificent record covering handicaps and he has one of the worst hold/break percentages in the top ten, largely due to his mediocre return stats. He narrowly got past Albert Ramos as a 1.07 favourite in the first round (5 game winning margin) and Chung is a significant upgrade on the Spaniard on hard court.
Chung has acquitted himself admirably against top ten opponents Tomas Berdych and Marin Cilic, losing fairly tight best of three matches by four and five game margins as a very heavy underdog, and from what I’ve seen he appears to have a rather unflustered nature, so shouldn’t be overly fazed about taking on a top ten player in Grand Slam.
Given the statistics, it’s difficult to ignore a bet on Chung +7 games on the game handicap at 1.63, and I also fancy the Korean 19 year old to claim at least a set at 1.98
Tennis Handicap Betting Recommendation: Back Hyeon Chung +7 games at 1.63, and Chung +2.5 sets at 1.98 (split stake).
Prices correct at the time of writing.
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