pick

On Tuesday, world No. 15 Diego Schwartzman will go to battle with world No. 31 Miomir Kecmanovic at the Italian Open. Both players won only one match at the Mutua Madrid Open, with Schwartzman losing to world No. 20 Grigor Dimitrov in the round of 32 and Kecmanovic coming up short against world No. 4 Rafael Nadal in the same stage. Both players will be hoping to go a bit further in Rome this week, and they each have the talent to do so—but one will come away even more disappointed than last week.

Schwartzman’s loss to Dimitrov was quite uncharacteristic of him, as the Argentinean got completely run off the court. It’s not often that you don’t see Schwartzman at least making his matches competitive, but Dimitrov earned a 6-0, 6-3 win in just an hour and 10 minutes. With that said, you should expect Schwartzman to come back readyto go when he takes on Kecmanovic. The 29-year-old has either won or taken a set in 17 of his 21 clay-court matches since the start of the 2022 season, and you should count on him to win at least one here.

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But Kecmanovic is just as capable of getting on the board. The 22-year-old has won 13 of his 19 matches on clay this season, and he forced a tiebreaker in the second set against Nadal last week. Kecmanovic has taken his level to new heights this year, and he has the all-court game to give Schwartzman some trouble in this one. There are not many things on a tennis court that the Serbian can’t do, as he has good power from both sides and moves really well. He’s also a rock-solid server, and we’re starting to see why people have been so high on him for a few years now.

Kecmanovic is the more talented player in this match-up, and it’s going to be hard for Schwartzman to overcome his power and all-around excellent baseline play. However, we’ve seen the Argentinean do things like this before, and there’s a reason he’s favored in this match. Overall, it’s difficult to choose a side here. But what isn’t difficult is backing the Over on the game total in this one. It’s just hard to see a scenario in which this match doesn’t go to a third set, which would make it nearly impossible for the Over of 22.5 games not to cash.

The Pick: Over 22.5 Games (-110)