After an action-packed Day 4 with plenty of upsets, Day 5 brings us more tennis action in the 2022 Australian Open. As the drama continues to play out, which players should we back to make winning tennis picks?
Reilly Opelka vs. Denis Shapovalov
Thursday, January 20, 2022 – 9:30 PM EST at Margaret Court Arena
Denis Shapovalov opened his tournament with a four-set victory over Laslo Djere. In the second round, it took him five sets to defeat Soonwoo Kwon. Now, he will face a much stiffer test in the form of Reilly Opelka.
Shapovalov is a young Canadian player with an aesthetically pleasing game. Shapovalov is one of the few players who uses a one-handed backhand, and when it is unleashed, it can be a thing of beauty. Denis Shapovalov is left-handed which means that his backhand often plays to his opponent's forehand. A one-handed backhand has less power but it allows the player more court coverage. There are few players who still use the one-handed backhand. So when a player is able to use it as a weapon, it is quite impressive.
Shapovalov has all the skills to be a top player in the game but sometimes he can break down mentally during tough matches. If Shapovalov is able to overcome this and learn to play consistently, even in the toughest matches, he has the potential to be a grand slam champion.
Reilly Opelka is your typical American player. He has a big forehand and an even bigger serve. Opelka is one of the hardest servers on tour, and at 6’11” he can really strike down on the ball. But unlike some other American "servebots", Opelka has fairly strong groundstrokes. While he will never be confused with Rafael Nadal from the baseline, for a man of his size, he hits the ball quite well. Many tennis observers think that Opelka is currently the United States' best hope to become a grand slam champion.
Reilly Opelka has taken a much cleaner path to the third round. He has yet to drop a set in his wins over Kevin Anderson and Dominik Koepfer. Opelka has hit a combined 41 Aces in his first two matches. Opelka will need to hit a high first-serve percentage against Shapovalov, but he is definitely in great form right now.
I like Reilly Opelka to get it done here as he is in much better form at this tournament. The quick surface in Melbourne Park is one of the best surfaces for Opelka's power game. Shapovalov has a ton of potential and will definitely be at the top of the men's game for years. Yet the way Shapovalov is playing right now, he will not keep up with the in-form Reilly Opelka. Our first best bet for Day 5 is Reilly Opelka.
Carlos Alcaraz vs. Matteo Berrettini
Thursday, January 20, 2022 - 9:30 PM EST at Rod Laver Arena
Carlos Alcaraz has taken the tennis world by storm and has proven that he is not just a clay-court specialist. The protégé of Rafael Nadal has proved he is deserving of all the accolades he has received so far. Yet he will face a stern test here in Melbourne against a player who he has recently beaten at the end of last season. Alcaraz beat Berrettini in three sets in their only previous meeting in Vienna last year.
Matteo Berrettini also enjoyed a breakout season last year by making the finals at Wimbledon. The run at Wimbledon displayed Berrettini's game is ideally suited for very quick surfaces like the one here in Australia. Berrettini has a powerful game and prefers playing quick points that the quicker services encourage.
Last year's result in Vienna can be a tad bit misleading. Normally, indoor courts are great indicators of success here at the Australian Open, but Vienna is one of the slowest indoor hardcourts on the tour. Therefore, while Alcaraz's win was impressive, it is not as predictive as a win in Paris would be, where the courts play much more similarly to how they play here in Melbourne.
I believe Alcaraz is a great player and a future Grand Slam champion but I do also believe he's being overvalued at the tennis odds board in today's match. The surface favors Berrettini greatly. I think that Berrettini is flying under the radar because he ended the year with some injuries. I like Berrettini to get it done here on the fast surface of the Australian Open. Our second-best bet for Day 5 is Marco Berrettini.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.