THERE'S second-round action from the ASB Classic and Sydney International on Wednesday on the ATP World Tour, with 14 new matches on the card for day four.
Our one wager on day three was a winner when Aleksandar Vukic came within a couple of points of beating Feliciano Lopez in straight sets before losing in a decider, but covering the handicap.
It’s set to be very windy in Sydney on Wednesday pretty much all day, so that’s a factor to consider on day four.
Hyeon Chung vs John Isner
Isner enjoys playing Auckland, with a very decent record in the City of Sails of two titles and a 17-4 overall win/loss mark, and he’s had no problems seeing off Chung so far in his career.
When the pair met in the US Open on outdoor hard last summer Chung didn’t even get to deuce on the Isner service in a straight-sets win for Isner in which the American didn’t even need to resort to a tie break.
Isner does tend to play a lot of breakers in Auckland though, with a 0.40 tie breaks per set ratio in his career at this tournament and 12 of his last 13 have featured one. The last time he won a match in Auckland without there being a tie break involved was 2010 when he beat Juan Monaco.
Chung clearly has a problem getting anywhere near the Isner serve and with the latter holding 93.1% of the time on outdoor hard at main level over the last 12 months and winning 63% of his breakers this is a tough ask for Chung.
The South Korean has a poor record in tie breaks at main level on outdoor hard, with just four wins from the 15 he’s played (26.7% win percentage), so he’s at a distinct disadvantage there.
Isner has won 76.2% of the tie breaks he’s played in Auckland and while the American is unlikely to be at his best in his first match of the season the serve will probably be all the edge he needs here, with Chung’s own serve very breakable.
Tennys Sandgren, who has broken serve only 13.7% of the time at main level in his career created 12 break opportunities against Chung on Tuesday and I fancy Isner to do enough on Chung’s serve to cover the handicap here.
Chung only holds 77.3% of the time on hard courts and one break may be all Isner needs to cover -1.5 games at odds-against.
Steve Johnson vs Roberto Bautista Agut
Johnson has played some good stuff in Auckland over the years and while his 0-4 record versus Bautista Agut doesn’t look great on paper the American should definitely have won their last encounter.
That was on indoor hard in Valencia in 2015 when Johnson blew no fewer than six match points (three from 6-3 up the final set tie break) and with Johnson having held serve 90.8% of the time in Auckland he can out pressure on RBA here.
In his 30 matches (14 wins 16 losses) against the big servers on my database RBA has only broken serve 13.4% of the time and if Johnson serves as well as he has here in the past this should be a competitive match.
Clearly, RBA is the better player off the ground, but conditions in Auckland suit Johnson and now that he’s managed to get a win under his belt his price of 3.50 looks a bit generous.
Johnson was a 2.58 chance when this pair last met and RBA hasn’t started the season as he’d have liked, losing out to Gilles Simon in Pune, so I’ll have a small interest on the American here.