Thompson vs Donaldson
This match brings together a couple of little factors that together make up a perfect storm of sorts.
In January I was one of many people keen to back Jordan Thompson to beat Jared Donaldson on New Years Day this year in Brisbane, and found myself embarrassed at the misread instantly, as Donaldson won 6-2 6-4, losing serve only once (up a double break in the first set), and absolutely dominant throughout. Thompson had real trouble early in the year with his depth on his forehand, and although his Challenger form has improved (played this morning in Challenger final against Clarke), he still hasn't quite clicked together at ATP level this year.
Jared Donaldson looked to be just getting everything to click on hard court this year, and then the tour transitioned to clay, and with it his rhythm disappeared. Donaldson struggled to get back on track after his heated claycourt confrontation with the chair umpire a few months back against Ramos in Monte Carlo, earning only a handful of points across his clay and grass campaigns. It did look as though things were starting to click again on grass, making the second round at Wimbledon before losing a 5 set match to Tsitsipas, so I am looking for Donaldson to bounce back at home.
When you consider on pure hardcourt rankings that Jared Donaldson is top 30 of hardcourt, and he is back on court in North America where he plays his best tennis, I am comfortable taking the -2.5 game handicap here on Donaldson to get the win over the Australian coming off a full Challenger week. The match is on the racquet of Donaldson, so hopefully he is on song as he was in Brisbane to kick off 2018.
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