Miami Open, 2nd Round, Friday, 24/03/2023

The second round of the Miami Open is on. On Friday Denis Shapovalov will meet Guido Pella. The Canadian is the clear favourite in the duel – rightly so?

The Argentine won in three sets against Juan Pablo Varillas in round one. Will he now be able to beat the world number 30? In my Pella Shapovalov tip, I recommend what I think is a suitable bet.

Guido Pella hasn’t been playing at a top level for quite some time. Injuries have repeatedly plagued the now 32-year-old since his Corona days.

In 2018, he still played 59 professional matches, and in his best tennis year in 2019, when he reached 20th place in the world rankings, he even played 62 matches. But then came the turning point in his career.

In 2020, he played 17 matches, a year later 26, before the current 581st ranked player in the world took a longer break and did not swing the racket again until November 2022.

Due to the longer time off, his opponent Denis Shapovalov is listed as the clear favourite. Bet365 offers odds of just 1.16 for a win, while a Pella victory could result in a 5-fold increase in the stakes.

But looking at recent results, an underdog win is unlikely in this match. But at least he has won three of his eight matches since his comeback.

In addition to his first-round win over Varillas (1-6, 6-3, 6-2) in Miami, he also made it to the second round in the first Masters of the year, making a comeback from a set down in this match (3-6, 7-5, 6-2).

His third success came on clay in Cordoba. Here he won against Andrea Vavassori in two sets and was then defeated by Hugo Dellien in round two.

An even tougher nut to crack will now be Denis Shapovalov, the strongest opponent since his comeback. Quite surprising is the 1.57 odds for a 2-0 win for the Canadian, who was born in Israel.

The reason for the high odds is probably the lack of consistency. There is a fine line between absolute world-class tennis and a total disaster in the form of countless unforced errors.

However, Shapovalov is only 23 years old. In 2023, he has yet to achieve any major successes. In Adelaide, he at least reached the quarter-finals, where he was beaten by a certain Novak Djokovic.

The world number ten from 2021 also played the third round at the Australian Open, losing in the end to Hubert Hurkacz after five sets.

He already lost to Yibing Wu (6-7, 4-6) in Dallas and in Delray Beach (vs Michael Mmoh 5-7, 6-3, 3-6) after his first appearance, as well as in Indian Wells (vs Ugo Humbert 5-7, 4-6).

He experienced a short interlude after his first round win against Miomir Kecmanovic at the ATP in Acapulco.

In each of his defeats, he met top 100 players. Of course, Pella is not yet at that level after his long break.

The two players met at the Masters in Rome. Shapovalov won clearly in two sets (6-2, 6-3).

On hard court, I expect even more advantages for the favourite, who scores quick points with his powerful strokes. Shapovalov also has a much stronger first serve than his opponent.

The Canadian can only stop himself again if he gets restless and turns his tennis game into an error factory. Against Humbert, he last made 14 double faults.

Conclusion: Shapovalov is rightly the clear favourite in this duel. If he plays his best tennis, he will dominate Guido Pella, who always has problems with his own service game.

I can’t imagine another Masters exit at the first appearance of the world number 30. Especially as he is unlikely to slip into a negative spiral thanks to early successes in the match.

I see a clear 2:0 in the match for Shapovalov and expect several breaks in the match. Therefore, in my Pella Shapovalov tip, I recommend a combination with the Bet365 betting configurator: 2:0 for the Canadian and under 0.5 tiebreaks in the match.