Australian Open Day Six Men's Tips: Goffin the best spot on a tough card

Belgian Tennis Player David Goffin
David Goffin has a solid chance as underdog against Daniil Medvedev...

Day six at the Australian Open sees the final group of third round matches take place, and returning to give his views on the best bets, is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...

"Looking at six month hard court data, which also takes into account Medvedev’s dramatic improvement, Goffin has won 0.5% fewer service points than the Russian, but won 2.1% more on return. "

Dimitrov again struggles on game handicap

Friday's action in Melbourne has just concluded at the time of writing, with a five-set epic between Marin Cilic and Fernando Verdasco ending in favour of Cilic, who needed to come from two sets down to oust the Spanish veteran. Another Spanish veteran, Rafa Nadal, didn't face the anticipated test from Alex De Minaur, storming past the Australian prospect, and Roberto Bautista-Agut was another Spaniard who progressed, defeating Karen Khachanov with surprising ease.

We also managed to pick up another winner from opposing Grigor Dimitrov on the game handicap, and while a straight-set win over Thomas Fabbiano sounds comprehensive enough, again, the Bulgarian failed to cover. Our game handicap recommendation on Fabbiano +7.5 games was never in much danger of failing to convert.

Goffin the best spot on a trappy card

Saturday's men's card looks the trickiest of the entire week, with a couple of slight to medium underdogs looking like some value, although both matches look a little 'trappy'.

David Goffin is 2.8615/8 to get the better of Daniil Medvedev, and rather like Roberto Bautista-Agut against Karen Khachanov today, there is considerable market support for the young gun to take down the long-time top 10/top 20 type player.

It's an interesting match-up. Goffin cut the end of 2018 short and initially had a bad start to the new season, losing to Ricardas Berankis in Doha. However, he's impressed more here this week, schooling Christian Garin in his opening match, before a tougher four-setter against Marius Copil. Looking at six month hard court data, which also takes into account Medvedev's dramatic improvement and some fitness issues for Goffin, Goffin has won 0.5% fewer service points than the Russian, but won 2.1% more on return.

The difference is that despite having marginally better combined data, Goffin has won a lower percentage of matches than Medvedev in this sample, and I feel that this goes some way to explaining the slight price discrepancy between my model and the market. Certainly, Medvedev's 74% win percentage on hard court in the last six month is not commensurate with a 104.3% combined serve/return points won percentage, with that level more akin to Goffin's 65% win percentage.

Summarising, the decision that I need to make is whether I feel that Goffin against Medvedev is a better bet than Carreno-Busta, in the other match I'll discuss in detail shortly, against Fabio Fognini. At market prices, and given some concerns over Carreno-Busta, I'll say yes, but it's not a particularly confident selection.

Carreno-Busta fitness crucial aspect of Fognini clash


Carreno-Busta's match-up with Fognini is fascinating as well, with the Spaniard having what looks like a rather strange 5-0 head to head lead over his opponent. Despite this lead, Carreno-Busta is still the underdog, at 2.186/5, and numbers-wise, based on hard court data over the last 12 months, he should be a slight favourite.

My concern here is the fitness of Carreno-Busta, and therefore his ability to dig out a win in what looks likely to be a tight, and potentially long match, particularly given that there will likely be longer rallies with two rather return-orientated players, than a serve-orientated clash.

After retirement at the US Open, Carreno-Busta barely competed at the end of 2018, and his the nature of his win over Challenger player Luca Vanni - where he had to fight back from two sets down - hardly inspires confidence. He did fare better against the promising Ilya Ivashka on Thursday, winning in straight sets, but Fognini, even on hard court, is a decent upgrade on this.

Improving Herbert could test Raonic

The other spot I quite liked was Pierre-Hugues Herbert against Milos Raonic on the game handicap. Raonic is just 1.201/5 to win here, which looks a little short, but surprisingly for such a serve-orientated player, he's done well enough for covering handicap lines when similarly priced in Slams. Herbert, however, has improved a lot in the last six months or so, and could quite conceivably give Raonic a tougher test than the market anticipates.

In other matches, Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori and Alexander Zverev are all heavy favourites to defeat lower ranked opposition, and the former two look a little shorter than I consider correct.

Denis Shapovalov could give Djokovic his first real test in the tournament, while Nishikori is here via the skin of his teeth, following a final set tiebreak against Ivo Karlovic, and another five-setter against Kamil Majchrzak. It will be interesting to see how Joao Sousa fares against the Japanese man tomorrow.


Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings

Dan Weston Australian Open Daily Preview P&L

10 Matches, 8 Wins.
10 Units Staked, 15.9 Units Returned
59.00% ROI.

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