Thursday's matches at the ATP World Tour Finals see the conclusion of the Boris Becker group, with Alexander Zverev and Jack Sock fighting it out to progress to the semi-finals. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, looks at today's schedule...
"It is the [1.59] favourite, Zverev, who has the best projected hold percentage, at 86.6%, but this is only 2.4% above that for Sock, who has acquitted himself well in what can be accurately described as a shock appearance at the O2 following his surprising triumph in the Paris Masters a fortnight ago."
Thiem struggles past Carreno-Busta, as Dimitrov thrashes Goffin
Matches in the Pete Sampras group yesterday in London were markedly different, with Grigor Dimitrov handing out an utter pasting to David Goffin, losing just two games in the entire match, while our selection, the heavy underdog Pablo Carreno-Busta, unfortunately lost the last three games of the match to succumb 6-4 in the final set to Dominic Thiem, who maintains his status of being grossly over-rated at this time of the year, and ripe for future opposition.
Quite incredibly, Thiem can still qualify with victory over Goffin tomorrow, in what is an effective shootout for a semi-final match against Roger Federer.
Federer a heavy favourite to win all three group matches
Prior to this, we have the two final matches in the Boris Becker group, with Roger Federer getting proceedings underway at 14:00 UK time against Marin Cilic. Federer has traded as high at [1.27] for this match, a price that was right on the edge of being value, but has now been backed in to [1.19], which is closer to my model price of [1.21].
Despite Federer having qualified already, and Cilic already being eliminated, motivation should be high for both players, given the significant rewards that one win generates. However, Cilic goes into this clash with a 7-1 head-to-head deficit to Federer, and will need to produce his very best tennis, and hope Federer does not, in order to triumph.
Cilic struggles to match elite level players
Indeed, Cilic's woeful 6-39 career record against the traditional elite four players - Federer, along with Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray - illustrates quite how difficult he finds it against the very best players in the world - Cilic should certainly be graded in the 'good but not great' category.
Sock and Zverev in semi-final shootout
With prices not particularly different to my model, I'll move on to the evening match, due to be played at 20:00 UK time, which sees both Alexander Zverev and Jack Sock competing to join Federer in the semi-finals.
Both players have beaten Cilic and lost to Federer so far in the competition, and the dynamics of the match look quite serve-orientated, with both players having projected hold percentages in the mid 80%s.
It is the [1.59] favourite, Zverev, who has the best projected hold percentage, at 86.6%, but this is only 2.4% above that for Sock, who has acquitted himself well in what can be accurately described as a shock appearance at the O2 following his surprising triumph in the Paris Masters a fortnight ago.
Sock on the threshold of value to qualify
Given this, my model priced Zverev at [1.70], with Sock at [2.43], and made a price of [2.70] about the American player the threshold for there to be pre-match value about him. Following a slight drift in the market - he has traded as short as [2.60] - Sock is currently available at [2.66], only two ticks below the desired value price, which he has traded at.
With this in mind, I recommend placing an order on the Exchange to back Sock at [2.70] pre-match, and I'd be quite surprised if this wasn't filled in advance of this evening.
Back Jack Sock at [2.70] to beat Alexander Zverev
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