Three days removed from his first ATP final appearance in Winston-Salem, the ultra-athletic Mikael Ymer will face Jenson Brooksby in the first round of the US Open. Picking against the previous week’s champion and runner-up is a tried-and-true angle in tennis betting—of which the oddsmakers are well aware. Brooksby is a solid -240 favorite and projected to win by 4.5 games.

Unfortunately, Brooksby is no longer tennis betting’s best kept secret. A few months ago, he would surely have been an underdog against the Swede. But the master tactician is still in a great spot come Tuesday.

Ymer’s speed and court coverage are off the charts, but with his incredible defensive skills, he absolutely prefers to play reactive tennis. He is most dangerous against ball-bashing opponents, where he can use his movement to shrink the court and force players into hitting too big or aiming too close to the lines.

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This incredible get in the second set against Carlos Alcaraz was the nail in the Spaniard’s coffin.

But Brooksby, one of the game’s most patient players, will not be fooled into hitting risky shots.

Additionally, Ymer thrives when he’s allowed to play many feet behind the baseline. I can’t overstate how remarkable Ymer's movement is, but Brooksby’s well-disguised backhand drop shot will force Ymer to come forward.

In Washington, Brooksby regularly pinned Auger-Aliassime behind the baseline, then won the point with his trademark two-handed dropper. 

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In his brief pro career, Brooksby has shown a tendency to struggle against big-hitting opponents who deprive him of valuable time to line up his shots. All four of his recent losses—Kevin Anderson, Jannik Sinner, Nikoloz Basilashvili and Thanasi Kokkinakis—hit their groundstrokes with massive pace. Ymer does not, and should allow Brooksby enough time to use his phenomenal tennis brain to his advantage.

I wouldn't suggest betting large amounts in the first rounds of a major—players are nervous, and wacky results are common. That said, I feel very comfortable backing Brooksby's game line after his three weeks of rest and US Open preparation.

The Pick: Brooksby -4.5