2nd Round – Mardy Fish vs Feliciano Lopez
The US Open reaches the second round phase tonight and in a tournament full of upsets so far, I’m backing another underdog to keep it close at least against his more favoured opponent.
One feature of handicap betting is the benefit of being able to back players with slight fitness concerns knowing that if they retire, the bet is void and you get your stake back in full, and I’m going to take advantage of that tonight with Mardy Fish, who faces Feliciano Lopez in one of the early matches at Flushing Meadows at 4pm UK time.
Fish is playing his last ever tournament as a professional tennis player after suffering from health issues in the last couple of years and there can be little doubt that the 33 year-old, who was ranked 7th in the world this time four years ago, will give everything this afternoon in what is potentially the last match of his career.
After almost two years out of action, Fish suffered a narrow defeat to Ryan Harrison at Indian Wells in March, and a 6-4 6-4 loss to Dudi Sela in Atlanta in July. However, he stepped things up in Cincinnati, demolishing Viktor Troicki 6-2 6-2 before losing narrowly to Andy Murray, in a very creditable performance. He took care of the Italian clay-courter, Marco Cecchinato, in relatively facile fashion (10 game margin) in the first round here on Monday.
In these five main draw matches since his comeback, Fish’s stats are actually pretty solid – he’s held serve 79.7% and broken opponents 30.2% – so it appears from this small sample that his level hasn’t greatly diminished from his lay-off in a way that a player like Janko Tipsarevic has.
Opponent Lopez’s stats are solid but unspectacular, holding 82.8% and breaking 17.2% (combined 100.0%) on hard court in the last 12 months, and the Spaniard tends to get the better of tight matches, particularly by saving a high percentage of his break points, where his stats indicate he is very clutch. He also has an excellent 11-4 record in tiebreaks in the last 12 months.
The hold/break stats indicate that 1.30 is very short on Lopez, and on that basis I want to back Fish on the handicap today. Given the fitness concerns on the American, I feel that a set handicap bet is better than game handicap, as there is a chance he may tank a set that he is losing in to save energy. I like Fish +2.5 sets at 1.57, and I also like a very small stake on him (30% of the stake of +2.5 sets) on Fish to gain the outright match win at 4.00.
Tennis Handicap Betting Recommendation: Back Mardy Fish +2.5 sets at 1.57, and for smaller stakes back Fish to win the match at 4.00
Prices correct at the time of writing.
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