Today's action at the ATP World Tour Finals sees the conclusion of the 2017 season. In what is a somewhat unlikely final line-up, our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, looks at the data behind the two players...
"What isn’t up for dispute is how much better Dimitrov is indoors than his rival today, holding serve 90.8% and breaking opponents 26.8% indoors (combined 117.6%) in the last 12 months, statistics which are getting closer and closer to elite level on the surface. "
Dimitrov and Goffin final sums up unpredictable 2017
Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin competing in today's World Tour Finals is a fitting end to the 2017 season - the most bizarre year of tennis that I can remember since I started looking at data in the sport many years ago. The fact that these two outsiders are taking to the court at 18:00 UK time - not the likes of Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal or even Alexander Zverev or Marin Cilic - sums up this unpredictable year.
Goffin defies commentators to record Federer triumph
Federer's absence today is the latest in shock results that have almost defied belief, not to mention any logic. Running through the first set 6-2 against Goffin yesterday afternoon, the commentators - as usual, full of praise for the player leading in their desperation to appear correct - viewed the rest of the match as a foregone conclusion, at which point the Belgian roared back to take the next two sets with the minimum of fuss.
Dimitrov with the mental head to head advantage
Indeed, Dimitrov's progress last night was far from assured, with Jack Sock taking the first set before the Bulgarian took the final set on his fourth match point, but he will certainly have positive memories of the last time he took on Goffin, with a 6-0 6-2 demolition on Wednesday in the group stages earlier this week.
Furthermore, Dimitrov has beaten today's rival in five of their six head to head meetings, but it's worth noting that in three of his victories, Goffin created more break point chances. With this in mind, it's probably fair to suggest that the head to head record flatters Dimitrov a little.
Goffin serve pressured in head to head matches
However, also worth considering is the fact that Dimitrov has been able to put the Goffin serve under huge pressure throughout these matches, with the five on main tour - all from 2014 onwards - seeing him create 57 break point chances in 14 sets, averaging just over four break point chances per set. Readers of yesterday's preview will note that this is a higher mean figure than Roger Federer managed against Goffin in head to head matches prior to yesterday's semi-final.
Dimitrov moving close to elite level indoors
What isn't up for dispute is how much better Dimitrov is indoors than his rival today, holding serve 90.8% and breaking opponents 26.8% indoors (combined 117.6%) in the last 12 months, statistics which are getting closer and closer to elite level on the surface. Goffin, whose numbers took a hit from Wednesday's thrashing, has done so 78.0% and 27.9% respectively (105.9% combined).
With the head to head also borne in mind to some extent, my model priced Dimitrov at [1.35] to take the title, which isn't too different to the Exchange market pricing, which sees him at [1.39].
Accurate market pricing unsurprising in high profile event
Considering this, it's tough to be able to recommend anything from a pre-match basis, with the market understandably pricing things quite accurately.
With projected hold percentages not deviating hugely from the ATP indoor mean - Dimitrov's at 83.9% is slightly above, while Goffin's, at 75.6% is slightly below - it's also not easy to provide trading angles.
If pushed, backing Dimitrov when losing on serve, particularly facing break points at 15-40, might be the best entry of a bad bunch, especially when considering Goffin's inability to convert break points has already gone part of the way to create this head to head record, but it certainly isn't what I would consider an exceeding high expected value entry point.
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