The match that caught my attention from the ATP side of the first round ist he clash of two players ranked outside the top-100. Homeboy and wildcard, Alex Bolt (ranked #155) will face American ranked #105 in the world, Jack Sock.
Alex played 5 times in the Australian Open, from those he only played twice in the main draw and is yet to win a main draw match. Interesting is that he never lost a match in Australian Open (qualification or main draw) without winning at least one set, and he never lost at the spread offered. In 2017 he won 3 qualification matches (against Copil, Bachinger, and Benneteau) while being the underdog in 2/3 matches. He then lost to Nishioka in the first round (6-4 1-6 6-2 6-4, covering the spread as a 2.47 underdog). In 2018 he got a WC for the main draw and faced Troicki (Bolt was 3.74 underdog) where he lost in 5 sets, after being 2 sets up. He lost at 6 games, covering the +6.5 offered spread once again.
Jack Sock is a former #8 player in the world, and a Masters title winner, back in 2017 in Paris Bercy. After that, he had a horrific year in 2018 winning just 10 matches and losing 25. In 2019 he played two exhibition matches in Kooyong, both lost in 3 sets- against Tomic and Shapovalov. His results in Australia are horrible as well (by his past standards). He lost in 2016 in the second round as 1.46 favorite against Rosol (won the first round in 5 sets against Fritz as 1.45 favorite). In 2017 (his best year on tour) he won against Herbert (as 1.19), and against Khachanov (as 1.33) and lost in the 3rd round to Tsonga. Last year he lost in the first round to Sugita in 4 sets, being again favorite 1.41.
Alex is a lefty player with a huge serve and a killer forehand. I am sure, even he won’t win in the end (despite I expect him to win too) he will stay close. Sock’s return game is very bad, while his backhand is his kryptonite, and as long Bolt hits his casual cross forehands to the Sock BH he will win rather easy some rallies. Sock has a 1-4 record against lefties in Slam matches, losing to Vesely, Ramos, Bemelmans, and Nadal. His ATP record against lefties is rather good having 28 wins and 12 losses (most of the wins came in the 2016-2017 period when he was red hot). Both have a very low hold/break stats, being under 100% (which almost average level), but Sock has better stats tho (96.3% vs 81.9%). The last 15 matches played by these on hard courts show that Sock is horrible (4W-11L vs 7W-8L).
Bottom line, Bolt is a WC receiver, he is Australian (crowd will be behind him), Bolt’s body is also used to the high temperature (will be 34 deg C by the match time), while Jack is known to struggle in extreme heat. I think Bolt will comfortably covert he spread by winning at least 1 set against Sock. There are no signs that the American will come playing hats off and that’s why I back against an out-of-form player.
This match has been tipped January 11th as Bolt +5.5 @ 1.88 (min. 1.70) (8 units with Pinnacle), but now he dropped.
Alex Bolt +5.5 AH @ 1.88 (min. 1.70) (Pinnacle via SportMarket) – 8 units
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