The Russian is another one on my list who just simply doesn’t enjoy playing on the clay. Of his 726 ranking points across the rolling 12 month period, Donskoy has 16 points from clay matches. Across all surfaces Donskoy holds a 38-29 record across all surfaces, but that falls to 5-7 on clay. His wins in that time have come against:
- Yecong He (ranked 627) 6-2 6-2
- Tsung Hua Yang (ranked 254) 6-7 6-3 7-6
- Stefano Travaglia (ranked 141) 7-6 6-2
- Pierre Hugues Herbert (ranked 76) 3-6 6-3 7-6
- Stefanos Tsitsipas (ranked 40) 5-7 6-4 7-6
Of the 5 wins, 3 of them involved third set tiebreaks. I think the one win that bookmakers are taking too much from is his win over Tsitsipas. Tsitsipas was absolutely exhaustred and this match still ended in a third set tiebreak. Tsitsipas was playing his third consecutive week after a final appearance in Barcelona and a Semi Final in Estoril. A massive ask for someone who was then slated 2 days later to be playing Rome Qualifying. Donskoy still faced 20 break points considering all of the above information which staggers me.
Personally, I just cannot trust him on clay.
The young German is just sneaking under the radar after a pretty decent clay swing. I think he is actually playing better tennis than his 12 month form and recent results suggest. He is 12-11 on clay over the last 12 months, however I want to hone in on his form over the last month or so.
Since the start of Monte Carlo, Struff has wins over:
When you look at the losses, he has come up against either really impressive players or a player in a solid patch of form. He has lost to Zverev in Monte Carlo (3 sets), Cecchinato in Budapest (who won the title), Zverev again (won the title) and Coric. All very decent players on clay, and not unexpected (granted Cecchinato was on fire that week). Struff is capable of some massive results, with tour wins over Wawrinka, Dimitrov, Anderson, Tsonga, Berdych, Fognini and Ramos just to name a few. He is solid without being extraordinary. When you want to back someone against a player who has not shown consistency on clay over their career, sometimes all you need is solid.
This match I am hoping will follow a similar trajectory to my preview yesterday for Pavlasek/Basic. I just think over the best of 5 set tennis, Struff should be far too good for Donskoy on clay. These two met here in 2013 and Donskoy won in 4, but I cannot see history repeating here. I think Struff will cover the -4.5 game handicap on offer, even in a 4 set win.
TIP: 3 units Struff -4.5 game handicap vs Donskoy - $1.87 at Topsport
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