Following the group stage action at the ATP Tour Finals, Saturday's action sees the two semi-finals take place. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, discusses the day ahead...
"Against Thiem, we have to go back to April 2018 on clay in Monte Carlo (when Djokovic was coming back from injury) for him to be bigger than today's market price."
Djokovic joins Medvedev in qualifying for semi-finals
There were straight sets wins for Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev on Friday in London, with Djokovic qualifying from the group in second place while the already-qualified Medvedev topped the group with three from three.
Djokovic's win over Zverev was pretty tight - he only won 52% of points in the match, which is a very low figure for a straight-sets win - and it's probably fair to say that some have their doubts about his recent level, which included a group stage defeat to Medvedev, and a bad loss to Lorenzo Sonego in Vienna.
Djokovic a bigger price than previous matches against Thiem
Doubting Djokovic is always a dangerous prospect, however. He started the tournament at 2.6413/8 and despite qualifying (and arguably getting the easier semi-final versus Dominic Thiem compared to Rafa Nadal) he is still not a huge favourite at 1.625/8 to get past the Austrian.
Thiem impressed in his opening two group matches, albeit both via very tight wins. He got past defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas in three, and needed two tiebreaks to get past Nadal in a critical clash. Already having qualified, Thiem was despatched in straight sets by Andrey Rublev in his final group match.
I make Djokovic shorter than the market lines here. Against Thiem, we have to go back to April 2018 on clay in Monte Carlo (when Djokovic was coming back from injury) for him to be bigger than today's market price (he was around 1.804/5 that day) and away from Thiem's favoured clay, Djokovic has never been bigger than around 1.3030/100 in their match-ups.
That price was the Australian Open final in January, which Djokovic edged in five sets in a thriller, and all things considered, the world number one looks a little value to progress to Sunday's final.
Tough to call Medvedev and Nadal clash
Many neutrals would love a Djokovic versus Nadal final, and that prospect is still possible with the King of Clay facing Daniil Medvedev in what looks a very even match-up indeed. Medvedev is the slight favourite at 1.794/5 and I make the duo closer to even money, but there's certainly not that much value on Nadal, who is currently priced at 2.245/4.
Last year in this tournament, Nadal edged a final set tie-break to get the better of Medvedev in the group stages, and actually leads their head-to-head series 3-0, all in major events in 2019. The last two matches were particularly competitive, that final set win just discussed plus the final of the US Open, which went to five sets.
I'm expecting another competitive clash here. Medvedev - unsurprisingly given that he's won all of his three matches in straight sets - has better data in the tournament so far, but we cannot discount Nadal's long-term pedigree, and this match is extremely difficult to call in advance.
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