It's semi-final day at the ATP World Tour Finals today, and with the main question being 'Can anyone beat Roger Federer?', our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, runs the numbers while previewing the two matches...
"On indoor hard this year, Dimitrov has served 0.67 aces per game, to Sock's 0.61, while serving fewer double faults (0.28 per game compared to 0.33). It may well be that the market has been influenced a little by Dimitrov's poor aces count this week (0.32 per game) compared to his usual numbers. He's still served fewer double faults (0.26 this week) than his opponent."
Goffin and Dimitrov triumph in Friday's action
There were two dominant wins for both David Goffin and Grigor Dimitrov on Friday, with both players qualifying from the Pete Sampras group. Dimitrov was unbeaten during the group stages, and joins Roger Federer in the semi-finals as two players with 100% records so far.
Goffin an extreme underdog to knock out Federer
In the opening match, at 14:00 UK time, Federer takes on Goffin, and there is little doubt that the Belgian's task will be an extremely difficult one.
This is evidenced by market prices which see Federer currently the [1.10] favourite to progress to the final, while anyone convinced Goffin will be able to compete well may wish to avail themselves of the [10.5] about the underdog.
My model largely agreed with these lines, making Federer [1.11] to defeat Goffin, and there were several factors as to why this was the case.
Federer with historical success on the Goffin serve
Firstly, the Swiss legend takes a 6-0 head to head lead into the match, dropping just two sets, creating 64 break point chances across 16 sets (average 4.00 per set) so it is obvious that Goffin's serve holds no fear for the world number two, particularly when you consider Federer has created an average of 3.27 break points per set this year, on return.
Imperious Federer simply the better player
Secondly, purely based on hard/indoor hard hold/break statistics in the last 12 months, Federer has a clear edge. He's held serve 90.6% of the time, compared to Goffin's 80.0%, while breaking 26.8% compared to the Belgian's 26.4%, frequently also against a better quality of opponent.
However, with model prices similar to market lines, it is very tough to consider any pre-match betting options with this - but I'd be highly surprised if Goffin was able to sustain the Federer pressure on his serve enough to be able to get a shock win.
Dimitrov correctly priced as favourite to beat Sock
In the evening match, at 20:00 UK time, Grigor Dimitrov takes on the surprise package of the tournament, Jack Sock, and it is Dimitrov who is the solid favourite, at [1.53].
Again, my model largely agreed, pricing him at [1.48], and it's difficult to find a pre-match edge here either - as I've mentioned previously, the market tends to be very efficient in matches involving high profile players in big tournaments, and this is no exception.
Dimitrov's statistical improvement puts him at top five level
No doubt, Dimitrov is the better player - using the same statistics criteria as in the Federer/Goffin match, he's held serve 87.4% and broken 23.3% (combined 110.7%) while Sock has done so 82.5% and 20.6% respectively (103.1%). Indeed, it's worth mentioning that with his combined percentage now in excess of 110%, it shows quite how much Dimitrov has improved in recent months, and this is a solid top five (but non-elite) level.
Unfortunately, the market appreciates this too, which is a shame, but one area that they may not necessarily quite appreciate so much is that this match looks quite serve-orientated. Both players have projected holds in excess of the mean, and looking at the serve data on indoor hard alone this year throws up some interesting spots.
Statistics make a novelty bet an interesting long-shot option
Looking at the Sportsbook, a new feature is #oddsonthat, and the combination of Dimitrov winning, serving the most aces and the fewest double faults is a generous 13/5. For a small stake, this novelty bet may be worth considering.
On indoor hard this year, Dimitrov has served 0.67 aces per game, to Sock's 0.61, while serving fewer double faults (0.28 per game compared to 0.33). It may well be that the market has been influenced a little by Dimitrov's poor aces count this week (0.32 per game) compared to his usual numbers. He's still served fewer double faults (0.26 this week) than his opponent.
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