Today’s bet of the day is the round-of-16 clash between ATP “Bad-Boy”, Australian Nick Kyrgios, and the “Gentle Giant of Tandil”, Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro. At first sight, this might not be my usual bet as I bet most of the times underdog bets, but to be honest, I see it as a banker.
This clash is the battle of two generations, #NextGen and Big-4 Generation, but also can be called a battle of two mentalities, as different as possible mentalities. As said in the other preview about Kyrgios, he has been called the “New Star of ATP” and the “Most talented player since Federer”, but also despite his repetitive f*ck-ups “Good for tennis” or “The only Character of tennis”, while JMDP was the “silent” one that produces big shocks, a player loved by every tennis fan. Nick Kyrgios is 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in) and plays right-handed with a two-handed backhand, as Del Potro is 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in) and plays and plays right-handed with a two-handed backhand too.
Careers under dissection.
As a short debrief of Kyrgios’ career… Kyrgios has won 4 ATP tournaments, but nothing special (only one Masters final, Cincinnati 2017, and 2x QFs in Slams back in 2014 and 2015). Kyrgios won, strangely, 9 matches against top-5 players and lost just 13. He won matches against Dimitrov, Zverev, Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, and Wawrinka. He is 216W-114L in his career and 125W-66L on hard courts. This year he struggled big time with injuries, physically, but I would say also mentally (“strange year on a personal level”, called by himself). Still, he has a 22W-9L record in 2018 and a 12W-4L on hard courts this year. Most notable results this year would be Brisbane winner (back in January), R16 of Australian Open, and SF of Queen’s Club.
Del Potro, on the other hand, had a tremendous year so far, reaching his all-time high ranking of #3 in the world, having this year a 37W-9L record, and on hard courts 25W-5L. As a short debrief of his career we can mention that he has played 33 ATP finals and won 22 titles, from those 1 Slam win in US Open 2009 and 1 Masters Tournament, in Indian Wells 2018. Both of the finals played in these high rated tournaments he defeated Roger Federer, and both times the Swiss was ranked #1 in the world at the time of play.
His record vs. top-20 players in the past 52 weeks is 12W-11L (He lost 3x Nadal, 2x Federer, 2x Isner, 1x Goffin, 1x Dimitrov, 1x Fognini, 1x Berdych).
As styles of play stand…
Kyrgios claims to not fear any opponent and says he always plays aggressively against everyone. Kyrgios’s main strength could be considered his serve; usually reaching higher or equal accuracy percentages of 75%, but also is known for hitting through the second serve to speed 200+ km/h (as a gamble), surprising everybody at times. Nonetheless, he also has a tremendous and blasting forehand as well as a very consistent and dangerous backhand. Both of these ground strokes provoke damages to opponents, while he is not afraid to use the backhand down the line. Adding to his skills are an effective slice and an efficient net game, and is known to love a doubles’ match once in a while too. His best surfaces considering his playing style are grass and fast hard-courts. He doesn’t have a steady coach but has many training sessions with Lleyton Hewitt, while his brother Chris is following him around the circuit all year long keeping an eye on his body.
Del Potro is an offensive baseliner with a very deep and powerful serve. His ground-strokes couldn’t be more different, as his forehand has huge power (top-3 forehand in the game for sure), and hits it flat, while the backhand (since the left arm wrist surgery) is more cautiously used as 50% of the times as slice backhand. Despite del Potro admitting that relying on slices is “not my game”, the shot has been effective in moving his opponents out of position and slowing down rallies enough to allow him to set up powerful offensive shots with his forehand. Movement wise he is a good mover considering his stature. Del Potro is trained by Sebastian Prieto
These two players have never met before, surprisingly, and we have to guess sort-of how these will play against each other. Del Potro’s record against 1,93m tall players and higher is good, having won 6 matches and lost 3 in the past year, while his career record against this kind of players is 18 wins and 10 losses. Kyrgios’ record against the same sample of players is 18 wins and 20 losses, career-based, while in the past year he lost 4 matches and won just the 1. The players in this sample are Zverev, Raonic, Karlovic, Berdych, Isner, Del Potro, Kyrgios Cilic, and Anderson.
Considering both having the serve a huge weapon we have to expect at least a tie-break and looking over the tie-break results would be a good thing to do. Kyrgios lost all 3 tiebreaks against tall players in the past year (2x Cilic and 1xZverev), while Delpo won 3 and lost 1 tie-break (won against Zverev, Cilic, and Isner and lost to Isner).
Kyrgios held 91% of times in 2018 and broke 15% (in his 369 service games and 365 return games), while Delpo won 87% of his service games (572 played) and 25% of the return games (568). A total combined value would be 104 for Kyrgios and 112 for Delpo. In the past year, Delpo won 20 matches (74%) where he had to play a tie-break, while Kyrgios won only 11 matches (58%) in these cases.
Kyrgios managed to win both matches he played so far here, and both in 3 sets. The first match against Kudla he has won 6(2)-7, 7-5, 7-6(9), saving a match point and also winning fewer points than the opponent (7 points less). The match against Coric was a spot on analysis from my side, as it was a 1st set tie-break involved, Kyrgios won 7-6(1), 0-6, 6-3 and again winning fewer points than the opponent (2 points less). His serving got him out of trouble in both matches, serving 39 aces against Kudla and 16 aces against Coric and winning 88% of the 1st serve points against Kudla and against Coric 78% in the 1st set and 84% in the 3rd set (have removed the 2nd set bagel as he was tanking). Kyrgios spent 3h 51m on the court during these two matches.
Del Potro had a BYE in the 1st round and has only faced Chung in the second round, where he won 6-2, 6-3. Del Potro served 9 aces and 4 DFs, and have 10 BPs on Chung’s serve (converting 5 of them), while was broken 2 times by the Korean player (out of 5 chances). Delpo stayed 1h 21m on the court during his win.
Considering all these facts and stats, the match-up, the weather (which will be 23-28 °C and showers announced… This will make the ball travel slower and the surface slower) that will favor Delpo, the injury concerns on Kyrgios side (had a heavily taped knee during the matches against Kudla and Coric), I guess there is only one player that could battle this out as a winner, which I am sure will be Del Potro. I know that Kyrgios has to defend “a couple of points” from his last year’s run to the final, and he won’t tank necessarily… but we have seen the set against Coric where he got bageled. Del Potro looked very sharp against Chung, he is more fit these weeks, he played less tennis this week and also the match-up looks good. The only scenario I can imagine with Kyrgios winning this match would be 7-6 7-6, but as the stats show, Delpo is the better player in these tight matches too.
Full-stake on Delpo to win @ 1.53 from Pinnacle!
(I would back the match at a 1-set rule bookie, like Pinnacle, Unibet, 888, Betfair, or Bwin as Kyrgios is the player to retire constantly)
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