The Indian Wells Masters continues on Saturday with round two getting underway. Returning to discuss potential value on today's schedule is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...
"I've written a number of times throughout the season about Korda's potential and in my view, he has clear top-ten potential."
Medvedev among those who are heavy favourites today
Many big names begin their tournament today having received first-round byes, and the likes of Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev are among those who start their campaigns today. They are overwhelming favourites to defeat Mackenzie McDonald and Carlos Taberner, respectively, while there are a number of further theoretical mismatches on the schedule as well. The market anticipates Cameron Norrie, Roberto Bautista-Agut, Diego Schwartzman and Casper Ruud to ease into round three.
Evans not without a chance for Nishikori clash
Kei Nishikori 1.618/13 vs Dan Evans 2.568/5: This looks arguably the match of the round today, with Nishikori favourite to end Evans' tournament. The duo have only met once in the last four years, with Nishikori edging a rollercoaster match at the French Open last year. Nishikori has only played once since his US Open loss to Novak Djokovic, with back issues preventing him from playing in San Diego recently, and a three-set win over Joao Sousa, who has really struggled in recent times, hardly a ringing endorsement of his level in that comeback match.
Evans, who picked up a first-round bye here, competed in San Diego and got the better of Kevin Anderson as an underdog in round one, before losing to countryman Cameron Norrie, and while numbers indicate the market pricing isn't far off, it would also assume Nishikori is fully fit. I'd probably rather be on Evans here, but it's not something I'd like to get involved with from a pre-match perspective.
Paul looking short-priced against Lajovic
Tommy Paul 1.645/8 vs Dusan Lajovic 2.466/4: I'm surprised to see the market so much in favour of Paul here, given pretty unremarkable hard court data and losses in recent tournaments. He got past the ageing Feliciano Lopez in round one here as a heavy favourite, but a loss to clay-courter Roberto Carballes Baena recently at the US Open isn't much to inspire confidence. Lajovic also does his best work on clay but is a more competent hard courter, and the slower conditions here compared ot the average hard court should also play into the Serbian's favour - Lajovic is our 'next-best' today.
Korda the pick against Tiafoe
Sebastian Korda 1.9420/21 vs Frances Tiafoe 2.001/1: I've written a number of times throughout the season about Korda's potential and in my view, he has clear top-ten potential.
This Korda give him a much higher potential ceiling than Tiafoe, who is two years older and lower ranked, and the underlying data about the duo confirms this as well - Korda has much better hard court numbers this year overall.
Despite this, the market is finding it tough to split the two players here and my model leant in favour of Korda, who came back from an injury issue last week in San Diego, getting the better of the aforementioned Tommy Paul in his opening match. That gives me a little more confidence in his current level and in this all-American clash, it's Korda who is today's pick.
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