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The Pick: Grigor Dimitrov v. Aslan Karatsev, Aussie Open quarterfinals
It's been a miraculous week of tennis for the world No. 114, but it will likely come to an end at the hands of Dimitrov's backhand slice.
Published Feb 15, 2021
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook and are subject to change
It’s been an incredible run for world no. 114 Aslan Karatsev, who stormed back down two sets to none to defeat Felix Auger-Aliassime 3-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday night. The 27-year-old has earned just over $600,000 in prize money throughout his career, but will walk away with at least $525,000 as he heads into his quarterfinal matchup with Grigor Dimitrov.
Karatsev is in the midst of a career-altering week, but his success was not as unpredictable as it seems. The Russian went 31-7 and won two titles on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2020, and according to UTR, was rated as the 30th best player in the world prior to the Australian Open.
He has been the player of the tournament so far, but his incredible run will likely come to an end against Dimitrov on Monday. After going down 3-1 in the first set against Dominic Thiem, the Bulgarian served and sliced his way to a shockingly dominant 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 victory over the world No. 3.
As incredible as Karatsev’s comeback against the Canadian was, much of it was due to a serious mental collapse from the 20-year-old, who instead of tightening the screws up two sets, began spraying unforced errors.
Karatsev does not miss his crosscourt backhand, but against Dimitrov, he’ll be hitting most of them from a few inches above the court’s surface.
Dimitrov will take Karatsev out of his comfort zone by baiting him to come to net, just like he did here against Marin Cilic.
The Russian has been bombing his flat-out-wide serve on most of the big points, but Dimitrov will put more returns in play than Karatsev’s previous opponents, because he is going to chip it nearly every single time.
The courts in Melbourne are quick, and Dimitrov’s backhand slice has proven to be one of the most effective shots of the tournament. Karatsev has been hitting winners on any waist-high ball, but Dimitrov will deny him that luxury.
On match point against Cilic, Dimitrov sealed the deal by knifing two backhand slices.
Perhaps Karatsev has one more trick up his sleeve, but at -215 according to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Bulgarian is a fantastic price to defeat the hard-hitting Russian. Not only is the Dimitrov money line a great bet, but he will likely cover his -3.5 game spread as well. Karatsev has been a breath of fresh air on the men’s side, but his run might be nearing its end.
The Pick: Grigor Dimitrov -215, and -3.5 games at -137
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