Second round action continues at the Australian Open on Thursday, and returning to preview the day four schedule is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...
"The benchmark of Machac's success has been his serve, which he held almost 90% of the time on hard courts (indoor and outdoor combined) at Challenger level in 2020. "
Wawrinka out as Kyrgios edges epic
Wednesday's matches saw the likes of Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev progress to round three, although we did see the exit of Stan Wawrinka - the Swiss veteran lost in five to Marton Fucsovics. Another five-set epic saw Nick Kyrgios edge past Ugo Humbert, saving two match points in set four. Kyrgios now faces Dominic Thiem on Friday, which should be a cracking match.
Thursday's schedule sees a number of theoretical mismatches, with many favourites priced below the 1.3030/100 mark and a number around 1.101/10 or below, including Andrey Rublev, Daniil Medvedev, Alex De Minaur and Rafa Nadal. Defeat for any of these players would be a major shock.
Machac can surprise people with serving ability
Matteo Berrettini also is priced around this bracket, with the Italian currently trading at 1.101/10 for his match with the Czech qualifier, Tomas Machac.
While Machac is ranked just inside the top 200, he only turned 20 several months ago and looks a player of real potential moving forward.
Machac reeled off nine straight games in the last two sets en route to a retirement win over Mario Vilella Martinez in round one, and breezed through qualifiers in straight sets, reinforcing the upward curve which he displayed in 2020. Towards the end of last season, Machac got to the final of the Bratislava Challenger indoors, and also won in Koblenz in February as well before the tour paused.
The benchmark of Machac's success has been his serve, which he held almost 90% of the time on hard courts (indoor and outdoor combined) at Challenger level in 2020. These numbers are extremely rare to see at that level, particularly in conjunction with breaking around 25% of the time, and should translate to some nice upside on the main tour as he develops his career.
Given these serve numbers yet heavy underdog status, it wouldn't be surprising if Machac is capable of keeping this quite respectable. Machac +7.5 games is priced around the 1.9010/11 mark and this looks reasonable enough to me.
Paul surprisingly underdog against Ruud
There's an interesting match between two improving players as well, with Casper Ruud a slight 1.804/5 favourite over Tommy Paul. On hard court, I actually have the odds not far from the other way around, with Ruud still to prove plenty on the surface after breaking through initially on clay. Feliciano Lopez really struggled past wild card Li Tu in round one and I think that's influencing his price at 4.30100/30 against Lorenzo Sonego. The 39-year-old certainly isn't close to his previous best but opponent Sonego also has mediocre hard court numbers and I'm not sure the Italian should be a heavy favourite even against a declining Lopez.
Market fully aware of Garfia potential
At the other end of the age curve, it's going to be interesting to see if 17-year-old Carlos Alcaraz Garfia can continue his progress. The Spaniard, who has very high long-term potential, is correctly priced as market favourite at 1.584/7 over Mikael Ymer, and the market appears pretty well dialled into that high potential of Garfia.
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