It is Day Four of this week’s tournament, and with that comes another large slate. We’ve seen tons of upsets so far, and I hope we get to see some more in these later rounds. The fourth slate of this DFS tennis week has 15 matches with ATP and WTA players in action.
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Novak Djokovic (DraftKings $10,900; FanDuel $25)
Novak Djokovic doesn’t need an introduction, as the ATP world number one is back in action trying to defend his title. Djokovic is 40-5 in his last 45 hard court matches, and at this point you have to wonder if anyone will be able to stop him. He had a slow start against Sam Querrey in his first round match, but Novak went into cruise control and won 7-5 6-1. He fired down aces at a 24% rate while winning 84% of first serve points, which is stellar for his standards on serve.
Djokovic’s next match is against Pablo Carreno Busta, the ATP world number 53 from Spain. Carreno Busta was a hated man yesterday, as he took out the home favorite John Isner in an epic three set battle. He has been clutch on serve to say the least, as Pablo has saved 13 out of the 14 break points he’s faced. The former world number 10 has dropped just one set in his three matches in Cincinnati, but I’m afraid that his time is going to come to an end. Carreno Busta doesn’t have the dominant type of game to stick around with Djokovic, and it’s shown in the 2-0 record that Novak has over Pablo. I’m rolling with the world number one to win in straight sets.
Daniil Medvedev (DraftKings $9,200; FanDuel $20)
Daniil Medvedev is on an absolute roll, reaching two finals over the last three weeks while dropping just four sets in those 12 matches. It’s amazing that he has shown little signs of fatigue, and we’re going to roll with him until he stops performing at this level. In his first two matches, Medvedev served aces at a 12% rate while winning 75% of all service points. He has taken down seven top 40 players on this run, and I think he can add another one to that list after this match.
Medvedev is up against Jan Lennard Struff, the ATP world number 36 from Germany. Struff has been solid on the hard courts since the end of the grass court season, with a 3-2 record while taking down the world number seven Stefanos Tsitsipas. Struff was serving for the match in the second set against Tsitsipas when he got broken for the first time in this tournament, which was also the only break point he’s faced. That shows me that he cracked a bit under pressure, and that’s the last thing you want to do against someone who doesn’t miss, such as Medvedev. Struff is relying on his 16% ace rate to keep him in these matches, but Daniil is just too good.
Alex De Minaur (DraftKings $8,600; FanDuel $18)
After two disappointing losses before Cincinnati, Alex De Minaur is back on track. The young Australian has won 76% of all service points without losing a single service game, and he’s making it look fairly easy. The half of the draw that he’s in is wide open, as a lot of top seeds have been defeated over the last 24 hours. This could be the best chance of his career, so far, to make the finals of a Masters 1000 tournament, and I’m sure he wants to make the best of that opportunity. He might not be a crowd favorite after taking down Reilly Opelka for the second time in the last few weeks, but De Minaur is going to perform his best either way.
He’ll face off against Yoshihito Nishioka, the ATP world number 77 from Japan. Nishioka just had a career win against Kei Nishikori, as he took down his fellow countryman in straight sets. Not to take anything away from Nishioka, but it is clear that Nishikori wasn’t 100% healthy. He made a ton of unforced errors and handed the match to Nishioka. Nishioka won 62% of service points in that match while facing just three break points, but he caught a bit of luck with Nishikori being sick. Nonetheless, he has taken down five top 50 players over the last three weeks, so he does have the skill to compete with some top players. De Minaur is probably the best defender outside of Djokovic, which might make Nishioka get a bit impatient. I’m rolling with Alex to win this match, with him knowing the opportunity that lies ahead.
Possible upset/value plays: Madison Keys (DraftKings $6,400; FanDuel $11)
Madison Keys is finally starting to look like her 2018 US Open self, as she’s won her first two matches in Cincinnati which ended a six match loss streak on the hard courts. Keys is playing some stellar tennis on the serving end, firing down aces at a 10% rate and winning 81% of first serve points. She lost just one service game in her last match against Daria Kasatkina, which might be the start of something good for Keys. It’s been awhile since she’s had some momentum, but being in the US just might do the trick for her.
Keys will go up against the WTA world number four, Simona Halep. After winning her first Wimbledon title just a month ago, Halep hasn’t lived up to that reputation on the hard courts. While she’s 3-1, she has not been all too impressive. Halep has faced 33 break points in her four matches while losing 14 of them, and her ace percentage is riding around 1%. Winning only 54% of service points is not going to get her very far, and I think Keys is in a prime spot to take her down. Halep does have a 5-1 record against Keys, but this is not the same Halep that we saw back in 2016. I’m rolling with the hot hand, as Madison Keys can get this done in the end.
Best of luck!