There's plenty of second round action at the Cincinnati Masters on Wednesday evening and Dan Weston thinks Nick Kyrgios could be upset...
"The reason why Kyrgios has a better win-loss record on hard court during these time periods focuses on him having a vastly better tiebreak record - often driven by variance - and considerable overperformance on break points - again, often driven by variance."
Dimitrov covers to give us a Tuesday winner
We picked up a relatively straightforward winner on Tuesday with Grigor Dimitrov's ability to cover the game handicap never in much doubt against Stan Wawrinka, with the Swiss man eventually prevailing via a final set tiebreak.
There was less drama in the matches featuring the bigger names on the card, with Novak Djokovic dropping six games, and Roger Federer seven, en route to straight set victories. The runner-up last week in Montreal, Daniil Medvedev, again eased past Kyle Edmund for the second consecutive week.
De Minaur favourite to edge serve-orientated encounter
Today sees the remaining round two matches take place, and in truth, there's not an abundance of huge value on the schedule. Our long-shot outright pick, Alex De Minaur, looks slight value at [1.73] against the big-serving American, Reilly Opelka, in a match where tiebreaks appear pretty likely. This is one of two matches which have a no breaks in the first set percentage in excess of 40%, according to my model.
The other is Nick Kyrgios against Karen Khachanov, but in reality, the market prices aren't massively out of line and it would take a first set tiebreak/over 12.5 games price around the 2/1 mark for either match to be particularly enticing.
Khachanov with better service/return points won data
Interestingly, both Kyrgios and Khachanov have a slightly positive return on investment figures from 2017 onwards when blind-backed in matches played at venues featuring what I consider to be quick conditions, but Khachanov actually has a slightly higher combined service/return points won percentage on hard court both in 2019 in isolation, and the last 12 months.
Kyrgios benefiting from positive variance at key points
The reason why Kyrgios has a better win-loss record on hard court during these time periods focuses on him having a vastly better tiebreak record - often driven by variance - and considerable overperformance on break points - again, often driven by variance.
Some observers might make the point that Kyrgios comes across as a man for the big occasion, and thrives in situations where it really matters, but my counter-argument to this would be that it is extremely rare for a player to consistently, and considerably, over-perform their expected outcomes in these situations in the long-term and they tend to revert to the mean eventually.
With this in mind, I don't mind chancing Khachanov at an underdog [2.38] price as today's recommendation.
Rublev could challenge over-rated Wawrinka
In other matches, Andrey Rublev looks reasonable value at [2.44] against Wawrinka, who continues to look over-rated by the market - as he often does - while there's some fascinating other match-ups. Stefanos Tsitsipas was defeated last week by Hubert Hurkacz in Montreal, and could again struggle against an improving player (albeit an older one) as he faces Jan-Lennard Struff, while Radu Albot and Diego Schwartzman are likely to combine to create the most return-orientated match on the schedule.
In addition, Adrian Mannarino takes a 5-0 head to head lead into his match with the lucky loser, Mikhail Kukushkin - without this, he'd look short at [1.61] - while Alexander Zverev is another favourite who some will tip to struggle, against yet another rapidly improving young player in Miomir Kecmanovic.
Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings
Back Karen Khachanov at [2.38] to beat Nick Kyrgios