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Tennis DFS Picks: US Open, Novak Djokovic & Kei Nishikori, DraftKings and FanDuel, August 26 (FREE)

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First I’d like to welcome any first time readers, since I assume the massive prize pools on DraftKings will bring in lots of new players. The fourth and final major of the year is here, as the US Open will be taking place over the next two weeks. The WTA side of the draw is wide open as usual, but the same question still remains for the men; will anyone be able to knock out Novak Djokovic? It’s almost impossible at this rate, as the best of five set version of Novak is one of the deadliest combinations on the tour. The first slate of this DFS tennis week has 46 matches with ATP and WTA players in action. Since there are a ton of matches, I will highlight one player from each range, starting from $11k down to $5k.

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Novak Djokovic (DraftKings $11,300; FanDuel $28)

Djokovic is back in New York to defend his US Open title, and it’ll be a miracle for anyone to stop him. Djokovic has been the world number one for the entirety of the 2019 season, while holding a 38-7 record across all surfaces. But what matters most is the major tournaments, where he holds a 26-1 record since the start of last year’s US Open. He took home the title while winning 15 straight sets to cap it off, and I’m sure he’s going to mirror that success once again.

Djokovic will start his US Open campaign against Roberto Carballes Baena, the ATP world number 76. The hard surface doesn’t mix well with Roberto, as he is 4-7 in 2019. Three of his losses came against players ranked outside the top 200, and it’s safe to say that he doesn’t have a chance to make this match competitive. This will be the first meeting between these two, and Carballes Baena might hope that it’s their last. Novak should win this match in three sets with ease, which could be worth paying up for.

Kei Nishikori (DraftKings $10,900; FanDuel $26)

Kei Nishikori has had a tough start to his hard court season since the end of Wimbledon. He lost his only two matches against Richard Gasquet and Yoshihito Nishioka, but he didn’t look fit or healthy in either encounter. The world number seven faced 32 break points while losing eight in total, but he is bound to pick that up in New York. Nishikori has a lot of ranking points to defend, as he reached the semifinals here in 2018 before losing to Djokovic in straight sets. Kei is one of the top baseline players in the game, and I have full confidence in him to get back on track.

Nishikori’s first match is against Marco Trungelliti, the ATP world number 205 from Argentina. Trungelliti just played in one of the most bizarre qualifying matches that I’ve seen in quite some time. He was up 4-2 in the first set to Tallon Griekspoor, lost the next seven games, then won nine straight to eventually put the hammer down. The pressure of making the main draw got to Griekspoor’s head, but Marco stuck in it and came out with the win. Trungelliti is 5-5 on the hard courts over the last 12 months, but he is yet to defeat someone ranked inside the top 100. I think Nishikori will be too much to handle, and he should win in three sets.

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Tomas Berdych (DraftKings $9,600; FanDuel $20)

Tomas Berdych, the former ATP world number four, is looking to get back on track after coming off of multiple injury issues throughout the last two years. The 2012 US Open semi finalist had somewhat of a resurgence earlier this year as he made a finals run in Doha, but it comes down to consistency for Berdych. His most recent match last week against Filip Krajinovic was disastrous, as he was up a set and serving for the match before he blew it and lost nine out of the last ten games. While it might not sound enticing, his first match in New York has blowout written all over it.

Berdych will go up against Jenson Brooksby, the ATP world number 393 from the US. Before the qualifying matches, Brooskby had an 0-7 against players ranked inside the top 300 over the last 12 months. He took out three players ranked inside the top 250 in the qualifying matches, but Berdych is a different caliber player. Brooksby made the main draw last year and got blown out by John Millman 6-4 6-2 6-0, and I expect the same result in this match. He doesn’t have the experience to hang with a player like Tomas, and I expect a straight set win at a discounted price.

Jennifer Brady (DraftKings $8,500; FanDuel $18)

Jennifer Brady has been one of the most consistent hard court players on the WTA tour in 2019, with a 23-11 record. She has been outstanding since the end of Wimbledon, with a 6-3  record while only losing to players ranked inside the top 30. Brady managed to take a set off of the world number four, Simona Halep, just two weeks ago in a close loss with a score of 6-4 6-7 5-7. Being in your hometown always gives an extra boost to the players, and I think that’ll be what she needs to improve her record against top 50 players to 9-5 in 2019. 

Brady will face off against Aliaksandra Sasnovich, the WTA world number 45. Sasnovich has been somewhat decent on the hard courts in 2019, with a 14-10 record while making a semi finals appearance in Sydney. She is 2-3 since Wimbledon, and she looked extremely poor in her last match against Magda Linette. Sasnovich is winning first serve points at a 62% rate on the hard courts this year, while serving aces 5% of the time. During her five matches over the last few weeks, she lost 17 service games in total. This will be the first meeting between these two players, but I have to roll with the hot hand. Brady will have the crowd behind her, and I think it’ll be enough to get her over the line in the end.

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Fiona Ferro (DraftKings $7,800; FanDuel $17)

Fiona Ferro has been playing out of her mind over the last month, with an 11-2 record across both the clay and hard courts. She captured a title in Lausanne just a few weeks ago, and she backed that up with an impressive run in The Bronx this past week. While her 8-9 hard court record in 2019 isn’t all too impressive, she is 4-1 since this run of success began. Ferro was firing down aces at a 6% rate during those four wins while getting broken only seven times, which is relatively low for WTA standards. Her one loss came against the world number 18 Qiang Wang, but that was expected given Wang’s level of play on hard courts.

Ferro starts off her 2019 US Open campaign against Daria Gavrilova. Gavrilova, the WTA world number 84, hasn’t played a hard court match since March. She is 2-8 in her last 10 hard court matches, and an overall 15-25 on all surfaces over the last year. Daria has dropped more than 50 spots in the rankings since this time last season, and it’ll continue to plummet if she can’t pick up her level of play. She is currently riding a three match loss streak, serving double faults at an 11% rate while losing 14 service games. These two faced each other in July on the grass, which is Ferro’s worst surface by far, but Fiona still came out on top 6-3 6-0. I expect the same result in this match, with Ferro coming out on top.

Possible upset/value plays: Janko Tipsarevic (DraftKings $6,300; FanDuel $13)

Janko Tipsarevic announced his retirement from tennis this week, and he will hang up the racket at the end of the season. The former world number eight has had his fair share of personal and injury issues throughout his career, and as the competition gets tougher it’s hard for him to make a comeback. However, he has still been able to compete with some of the top players in the game. Tipsarevic is 5-8 against top 100 players in 2019, and you have to think he’ll go all out in his last major. Janko’s lone hard court match since Wimbledon was a three set loss against Radu Albot, the ATP world number 41.

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Tipsarevic will face off against Denis Kudla, the ATP world number 111 from the US. Kudla has been nothing short of terrible on the hard courts over the last month, with an 0-4 record while losing all eight sets. Three of those four matches came against players ranked outside the top 100, with six of the eight sets receiving a score of 6-4 or less. Kudla is winning first serve points at a 60% rate and second serves at 40%, which will not be good enough against any opponent on the tour. He is 14-25 in 2019, and I think this is a prime spot for Tipsarevic to get an upset win.

Eugenie Bouchard (DraftKings $5,100; FanDuel $9)

You might think I’m crazy to include Eugenie Bouchard in an article, and you’re probably right as she has been absolutely terrible. Bouchard is currently riding a 10 match loss streak across all surfaces, with two losses coming against players ranked outside the top 100. Six of the matches went to three sets, which shows that he has some life in these games but just can’t get over the line. The former world number five has the game to compete with anyone, it just comes down to her mentality. Bouchard just got a new coach, so maybe that’ll change something in her game physically and mentally. 

Bouchard is up against Anastasija Sevastova, the WTA world number 12 from Latvia. Sevastova has been rather consistent on the hard courts over the last 12 months, with a 22-14 record while making a finals run in Beijing last October. She is one of the most crafty players on the tour as she throws in all kinds of shots when you least expect it, but it lets her down at times. In her two hard court matches this month, Sevastova is 0-2 while posting some poor numbers on serve. Across both matches, Sevastova won just 50% of all service points while being broken 12 times. I don’t expect much from Eugenie, but if she can get some sort of a return game going, she can stick with Sevastova.

Best of luck!

Twitter: @CMGCaleb_

Caleb contributes to the tennis coverage at Awesemo.com, providing analysis and picks for some of the top tennis tournaments. Though he specializes in DraftKings' tennis offerings, Caleb's analysis extends to everywhere wise enough to offer tennis daily fantasy sports to the masses. You can contact Caleb by emailing [email protected].

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