ATP Australian Open Day 7: Murray can turn around break deficits against Zverev

Murray can be backed to win sets when Zverev leads...
Murray can be backed to win sets when Zverev leads...

The fourth round of the Australian Open starts on Sunday, and our tennis columnist Dan Weston is back to preview the four matches on the men's schedule...

"Backing Murray to win the set if Zverev leads by a break is an approach that can be considered."

Favourites likely to dominate on Sunday

With three of the four matches on the card correctly featuring a heavy favourite, and two of these favourites priced below 1.152/13 to win, pre-match value is extremely thin on the ground.

Considering this, I wanted to focus on some trading angles which in-play bettors may find useful when looking for entry points.


Opposing vulnerable front-runners

One of my preferred trading strategies is looking for vulnerable front-runners, and the article I wrote here at tennisratings.co.uk details some of the Grand Slam specific statistics behind that decision-making.

In this article, we established that players with a projected hold percentage below average, and an above average combined score (% leading players lose break leads + % losing players recover break leads) had much more vulnerability as a front-runner.

Looking at my data for tomorrow, two players fit into this dynamic - Mischa Zverev and Kei Nishikori.

Zverev takes on Andy Murray in the opening match on Sunday's card, in a match scheduled to start at 3am UK time, and the Scotsman is unsurprisingly a huge favourite, at a current 1.031/33 on the Exchange.

I make this price a little short, but certainly nothing worthy of financial interest pre-match, and with a projected hold of 67.1% - much lower than the 79.1% ATP hard court mean - and a high combined score of 75.64, Zverev looks very vulnerable if he does get in front.

There is little doubt that it will take a significant lead for the older Zverev brother to trade at a short price in-play, but an area that we can look at in such a high-profile match is the set betting markets, and backing Murray to win the set if Zverev leads by a break is an approach that can be considered, with the option of either hedging or letting the trade run if Murray breaks back.


Federer can fight back if losing against Nishikori

Last on court in the ATP tomorrow is Nishikori's match with Roger Federer, with the Swiss legend a 1.654/6 favourite following his demolition of Tomas Berdych on Friday.

This is exactly the same as my model price, but Nishikori, similarly to Zverev as mentioned above, does have a low projected hold percentage (74.0%). Federer's break deficit recovery percentage is excellent, with him recovering the first break deficit of sets 51.85% since July 2014, and with this a contributory factor, Nishikori's combined score of 81.05 is also very high.

Considering this, laying the Japanese player when a break up in a set and either leading or level in sets looks to be a solid trading proposition. Hedging for profit, if Federer breaks back, or for a loss if Nishikori takes the set, would be the best exit strategy.


Evans will need to be clutch again to progress

In the other matches, I'd be surprised if Stan Wawrinka was significantly tested by Andreas Seppi, and if Dan Evans is to get past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, it is likely that the Brit will again need to significantly over-perform on break points. I mentioned the phenomenon of Evans' performance on break points on Twitter yesterday, and in the long-run, mean-reversion is extremely probable.

Recommended Trades
Back Andy Murray to win the set (set betting markets) if Mischa Zverev leads by a break
Back Roger Federer if Kei Nishikori leads by a break and Nishikori either leads or is level in sets

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