Struff vs Statham
Second round match from Auckland between Struff (#58) and Statham (#360)
At 31 years of age, Statham has in my opinion had the best start of the season ever in 2019 as he took wins vs Blancaneaux and Halys in Noumea and most recently caused a giganic upset vs Chung here in Auckland. He won 7-5 6-3. In the first set he was broken two times but broke Chung three, and in the second he held tight and reached a first serve percentage of 69% winning 83% of those points. He gave Chung no breakpoints in the second.
Struff is the better player here, there's no doubt about that. But he's only played one and a half match this season, he was knocked out of Brisbane by Chardy in three and won the first set vs a half injured Djere 7-6 before seeing the Serbian retire in the second set at 0-2. Struff was serving at 51% in that first set. He hasn't had a good start to the year at all.
So, Statham is coming to this match with arguably the biggest win in his career behind him. He is the home player and despite being ranked as low as 360 he is still one of the best and most famous tennis players from New Zealand as there simply aren't that many of them. I think the crowd will help him a lot here and carry him through. You can search for the highlights from his match vs Chung and see the crowd reaction when he wins, one could easily think he had just won the tournament judging by the crowd reaction.
Struff vs Statham prediction
|Statham||Pinnacle||4.61||6||2-0 LOST (-6 units)|