Alexander Zverev vs Juan Varillas
January 17, 2023 1:00 am EDT
The Line: Alexander Zverev -1600 / Juan Varillas +900
(Get latest betting odds)
12th seeded German Alexander Zverev will meet Peruvian Juan Varillas in the First Round of the 2023 Australian Open. The match will be played on Tuesday, January 17th 2023.
Alexander Zverev is making his long awaited Grand Slam return after sustaining a horrific injury during last year’s French Open. The German would normally be one of the favorites to lift the title, but some serious question marks surround his form and fitness. While he will face the inexperienced Juan Varillas, he won’t be taking anyone lightly due to that long layoff. His serve and groundstrokes, when firing, are among the world’s best, and as is always the case with Zverev, if he can keep his focus he should be able to get through here. He looked solid enough during the United Cup but was unable to win a match, losing to both Taylor Fritz and Jiri Lehecka. This will be a serious test for the German and it will be interesting to see how he approaches it.
Juan Pablo Varillas is a Peruvian Lucky Loser, who received a stroke of good fortune after losing in the Qualifying Event to Yosuke Watanuki. He will be hoping to make the most of that luck, but will face a massive obstacle in the form of former top five player Alexander Zverev. This would normally be a no-contest, but the German has been out of competition for half of a year, and if there was ever a chance of an upset, it would be now. However, Varillas is very inexperienced at this level, playing most of his tennis at the ITF/Challenger level, and is more comfortable on clay. He enters this match as a serious underdog, and even given Zverev’s lack of preparation is likely to struggle here.
It is quite difficult to know what to expect from Alexander Zverev after such a long break, but the gap in quality between these two players is so large, that he should still be backed to win comfortably here. I am always hesitant to back him in straight sets, given his serve and mental issues at times, even more so now. There will be some more rust to shake off early on, but this is a top five player that we are talking about, and he is too good to not figure it out eventually. Expect the big German to pass this test with ease, and move on to the Second Round here in Melbourne.