We’re onto the third round at the Australian Open in Melbourne and while we won’t have the crowd anymore beginning Friday, we should still have some tantalizing tennis. Because it’s still the third round we’ve still got a ridiculously long list of names to choose from for your DraftKings tennis rosters, and we’ve got some fantastic matches on the card. With so many that stand out, let’s narrow the options to consider on Friday. You can follow my tennis Twitter, @KDPicks, for any late thoughts on the matches.
Rafael Nadal ($11,200)
While I will admit, I’m a bit concerned about Nadal’s back injury — especially in the wake of what we saw on Friday morning with Novak Djokovic — but Cam Norrie ($3,300) doesn’t have any weapons that should trouble Nadal. Even on a faster surface, which doesn’t favor the Spaniard, he should still get this done in three sets. Norrie’s ridiculously high takeback on his groundstrokes doesn’t make him the best player on the run, and he should be sprinting side-to-side in this match. He also won’t be the aggressor, so he doesn’t profile as someone who would potentially push Nadal, who loves to play defensive players. Nadal should be able to execute his game plan to perfection against Norrie.
Jen Brady ($9,700)
Speaking of surfaces, most of the excitement surrounding young Kaja Juvan ($4,500) comes on the red clay, and her pushing play style will get swallowed up by the pure power of an elite hardcourt player in Brady. The American has won north of 80% of points behind her first serve in the early going down under, and getting up over 60% of first serves landed in her last win over Madison Brengle is a scary sight for Juvan. She should get hit off the court here.
Others to consider: Andrey Rublev ($11,000), Stefanos Tsitsipas ($10,800)
Mackenzie McDonald ($7,200)
This should be a prime slate for the underdogs. McDonald has thrived on these fast surfaces in Australia, which give him the opportunity to get aggressive, and while the hardcourts also favor the big serve of Lloyd Harris ($7,600), the rest of his game left a lot to be desired in his last match against Alexei Popyrin, who pushed him five sets. Harris might be a bit fatigued here, and McDonald should be able to fully capitalize with his superior talent.
Radu Albot ($5,400)
I’m just going with huge underdogs here, and will continue with Radu, who crushed in his last match against the talented Christopher O’Connell. Albot matches up extremely well with Casper Ruud ($9,200), who has proven to be an all-surfaces player, yet still shines brightest on clay and relies on breaking his opponents down with consistency. Albot might have the edge here at the net, and with little aggression coming from Ruud, he should be able to bring the match to the net plenty of times. He was a break machine in the second round, and at the very least he should be able to provide you plenty of points for breaks and games won. He should win two sets at the minimum.
Fabio Fognini ($4,300)
This could be the craziest underdog of the bunch, but Fognini has more talent than just about anyone you’ll find down in the $4K range this early in a tournament. Fognini’s ground stroking has been on another level at this tournament, and I’m not too concerned about how hard he had to work against Salvatore Caruso, who is a very tough out. The biggest issue he had was with the sheer power coming at him from the other side of the net; as Caruso hardly dropped serve. Alex De Minaur ($10,000) couldn’t be more different than Caruso, having issues galore holding and lacking any sort of firepower. Without any fans in attendance, De Minaur shouldn’t see the boost he’s become accustomed to over the past two weeks, and the supremely talented Fognini should be able to wear him down. This is dumb value.
Others to consider: Matteo Berrettini ($8,200), Ekaterina Alexandrova ($5,700)
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