Need something to occupy you tonight after the Super Bowl is over? Well, we’ve got just the thing — the first round of the Australian Open, taking us from tonight to probably all the way until it’s time to get up and start our Mondays. With so many huge names taking the court, we take a look at options to consider for your fantasy tennis rosters on DraftKings.
Novak Djokovic ($11,600)
Djokovic’s opponent, Jeremy Chardy ($4,000), came crashing back down to Earth this weekend after catching fire last week in one of the ATP 250s in Australia. The Frenchman had taken down some decent players like Marin Cilic, American Taylor Fritz and fellow-countryman Gilles Simon before he was demolished by the first bit of high-level competition he faced in Daniel Evans. Djokovic is a few steps above Evans at No. 1 in the world and is a perfect 13-0 in his career against Chardy, never dropping a set in any of the matches. A straight-sets win is surely on deck.
Diego Schwartzman ($11,100)
OK, so this isn’t the sexiest pick, but I could realistically see Dominic Thiem ($11,500) and Alexander Zverev ($11,400) dropping a set. I can’t say the same about Schwartzman, who was facing some pretty stiff competition at the ATP Cup last week, giving Daniil Medvedev a good fight and blowing the doors off Kei Nishikori after dropping a close first set in a tiebreaker. I don’t think Elias Ymer ($4,000), still very raw as a young tennis prospect, stands a chance against a returner as dangerous as Schwartzman. Diego should force Ymer to go for so many big shots with his consistency, leading to many errors.
Others to consider: Simona Halep ($11,200)
Value flex options
Denis Shapovalov ($8,000)
Once given about a 50% chance to win his opening-round match against Jannik Sinner ($6,700), Shapovalov has jumped to a -225 favorite as of this writing on the DraftKings Sportsbook due to the shape that Sinner is in. The exciting teenage sensation will be less than 24 hours removed from a grueling two-hour championship match at one of the 250 tournaments in Australia last week, in which he defeated fellow-Italian Stefano Travaglia, but at a huge cost. Sinner looked to be in considerable abdominal pain — perhaps cramps or something else internal — and hardly made it through the match. That match came on the heels of a long three-setter with Karen Khachanov, so it’s safe to say he’s going to be gassed. Shapovalov should be able to capitalize here, despite the fact that on paper I’d give the edge to Sinner. The fatigue should play too much of a role here in a five-setter.
Fiona Ferro ($6,600)
Once upon a time, Ferro was the hottest player on tour, going on a torrid clay-court run late last year. Her game fits the surface so well because she’s the model of consistency with her groundstrokes. The same can’t really be said for her opponent, Katerina Siniakova ($8,000). Though this surface will be much faster, Ferro still holds a solid 43-36 record on hard courts, going 12-3 in total last year with a win at the Aussie Open. I like her to pull an upset here.
Benoit Paire ($4,300)
If you need a punt, Paire could be your man. Now, I am required to tell you that this man has not won a match since Sept. 27, and also that he is a master of tanking. That said, he looked to find something in his ATP Cup loss to Fabio Fognini, finally playing the level of tennis that we know he is capable of playing. His opponent, Egor Gerasimov ($10,200), has nothing except for his serve, failing to make an impact in the ground game, and wasn’t even serving all that well last week in his loss to Felix Auger-Aliassime. Paire played a pair of five-setters last year at the AO, including a gutting loss to Marin Cilic in the second round. He’s way too talented to not be considered at $4,300, even with his form being very bad. He should be able to get you one or two sets at the very least, which makes him worth it. You’re going to have to live with the double-faults here, but if you get a victory at $4,300 you don’t really care. He’s a high-upside play.
Others to consider: Aslan Karatsev ($9,200), Frances Tiafoe ($8,300), Juan Ignacio Londero ($7,400)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jetsfan196) and I may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.