Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook and are subject to change. (Getty Images)
If you haven’t been paying attention to the ATP Challenger tour, there’s a decent chance you’ve never heard of Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi before. That’s ok, we have you covered. The world No. 125 has been playing some of the best tennis of his career the past few months, racking up a 14-4 record on the Challenger Tour in 2021, to go along with a semifinal appearance in Quimper, a final in Istanbul, and a title in Potchefstroom (South Africa).
Bonzi will face-off against fellow Frenchman Lucas Pouille in his first ATP tour-level match since 2019 Shanghai. Pouille has been plagued with a nasty elbow injury the last few years, and recently begun his comeback at the Quimper Challenger last month. But it’s been a tough sledding for the former world No. 10, losing in the first round to world No. 170 Filip Horanksy in the Quimper first round, then losing in the second round of Quimper 2 the following week to world No. 226 Tobias Kamke.
According to Draftkings Sportsbook, Bonzi is listed as a solid -180 favorite and projected to win by 2.5 games. It seems the Pouille name is getting a little too much respect in this opening round, as Bonzi has looked fantastic the entire year, while Pouille has been struggling with both form and confidence.
Bonzi is rock-solid from both sides, but can pull the trigger with either wing, in either direction.
In addition to his consistency and firepower from the ground, he also owns the classic French flair around the net.
Pouille’s talent level is undeniable, but oftentimes the road back from a serious injury is long and hard. He’s shown flashes of brilliance in his three 2021 matches, but his game has crumbled when it matters most. Pouille has been broken 11 times in his last three matches, while Bonzi is seriously match tested, having played 19 matches in the new year.
At -180 for Bonzi, I am happy to get burned by a vintage Pouille performance, but it doesn’t seem the 26-year-old’s game is ready quite yet.
The Pick: Benjamin Bonzi