Australian Open Day Seven Men's Tips: Bautista-Agut's dire record against top 10 opponents to continue

Croatian Tennis Player Marin Cilic
Marin Cilic looks value as a slight favourite...

It's fourth round action at the Australian Open on Sunday, and with some excellent matches in prospect, our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, is back to give his thoughts on the schedule...

"Overall, Cilic has actually spent 12 minutes fewer on court than Bautista-Agut this tournament, so any worries about his condition following that epic against Verdasco should be tempered by Bautista-Agut's previous exertions."

Goffin disappoints against Medvedev

Our pick for Saturday, the underdog David Goffin, didn't get much his way against Daniil Medvedev in the early match on today's schedule, going down in three sets, but we've had an excellent week so far across both tours, going 4-2 on each, so we continue into tomorrow's action still in good heart.

There wasn't much in the way of shocks, with wins going the way of heavy favourites Kei Nishikori, Novak Djokovic, Borna Coric and Alex Zverev, and only Djokovic and Coric dropped a set in those clashes, so as we approach the business end of the tournament, we can see that most of the top players are in pretty good shape going into the second week of the event.

Moving on to Sunday's action, there is a slightly later start in the men's tournament with there only being four matches on the schedule, so the men's side gets underway at 2am UK time, as opposed to midnight, which has been the case previously.

Time to depart the Dimitrov opposition train

Frances Tiafoe meets Grigor Dimitrov in tomorrow's opener, and my numbers make the market prices pretty accurate. I have Dimitrov at 1.548/15, which is fairly close to the current line of 1.4640/85 on the Exchange. We've opposed Dimitrov several times on the game handicap, with success on both occasions, but I think here is where we depart that train, and sit on our profits.

Berdych resurgence still makes him heavy underdog

Next up on the schedule is Tomas Berdych versus Rafa Nadal, and Berdych will be hoping that his resurgence in 2019 will see his status as Nadal's 'bunny' reversed. Including exhibition matches, Rafa takes a 22-4 head to head lead into their meeting, although it's flattered a touch by seven unanswered wins on clay, but still, with Berdych having only won once in 22 attempts since his third head to head win in 2006, this record is likely to weigh heavy on the Czech's mind.

Berdych's recent resurgence has largely been via his serve, where he's won 72% of service points in 2019, and while his return points won percentage (38.4%) isn't anything special, the 110.4% combined numbers is obviously highly impressive. Granted, this has only been via a sample size of eight matches, but these numbers are likely to be considerably above even his own expectations after long-term injury.

Having said this, I make the market prices, which have Rafa as the 1.201/5 favourite, about right. Longer-term data and the aforementioned head to head record are the main contributors to that assertion.

Cilic fatigue likely to be similar to Bautista-Agut

Not before 6am UK time - and conceivably a little later, which may benefit those who don't pull all-nighters but are early risers in the UK, is Marin Cilic against Roberto Bautista-Agut.

Cilic is the 1.794/5 favourite for this, and I feel that the market is being a little cautious about his chances following a lengthy five-setter against Fernando Verdasco on Friday.

The Spanish veteran, Verdasco, rolled back the years in the first two sets, before Cilic gradually took control, and while I usually would have concerns about a player off the back of a five-setter which took over four hours, it's worth noting that Bautista-Agut also played two consecutive five-setters himself prior to his victory over Karen Khachanov.

Overall, Cilic has actually spent 12 minutes fewer on court than Bautista-Agut this tournament, so any worries about his condition following that epic against Verdasco should be tempered by Bautista-Agut's previous exertions.

Bautista-Agut with woeful record against top 10 opposition

My data has Cilic as favourite, and in addition, he's won four of their five meetings, and there has been a big statistical discrepancy in their historical clashes. Cilic has had around a 5% edge on both service and return points won percentages in those matches, and has had quite a lot of joy on the Bautista-Agut serve, with the Spaniard only holding just over 70% of the time.

One of Bautista-Agut's main issues with improving his ranking is his dire record against top 10 opposition, going 5-40 against these players since he broke into the top 30 in early 2014. With this also borne in mind, I'm more than happy for Cilic to be our recommendation tomorrow.

Federer likely to have too much for Tsitsipas

Finally, Stefanos Tsitsipas faces Roger Federer in the night match - Federer appears to have a late match in cooler conditions virtually guaranteed - and the Swiss legend looks priced about right at 1.192/11 against a player who many feel has huge potential. I feel that Tsitsipas still has some work to do on hard court and I agree with this market pricing which has Federer a heavy favourite to make the quarter-finals next week.


Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings

Dan Weston Australian Open Daily Preview P&L

12 Matches, 8 Wins.
12 Units Staked, 15.9 Units Returned
32.50% ROI.

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