Second round matches continue on Wednesday at the Shanghai Masters and after a day three winner, Dan Weston returns to discuss the action...
"Pouille, who has broken opponents 16.0% on hard court in 2019, falling from 19.6% in 2018, does fall into the serve-orientated bracket himself, and my model has the first set tiebreak being around a 69% likelihood for this meeting."
Isner and De Minaur combine to give us a day three winner
We picked up a decent underdog winner on Tuesday with John Isner and Alex De Minaur combining to play the first set tiebreak required to cover our over 12.5 games in the first set, with there being just one solitary break point in that opening set. Isner didn't face a break point in the entire match.
Tiebreaks again likely in Isner's round two meeting
To some extent, Isner's ability to hold serve with ease - he won 79% of points on serve in the match - is a natural consequence of both his actual serving ability plus the quick conditions which tend to manifest themselves at the Shanghai Masters, and Isner faces a match-up against Lucas Pouille tomorrow which is likely to be even more serve-orientated than his first round match against De Minaur.
Pouille, who has broken opponents 16.0% on hard court in 2019, falling from 19.6% in 2018, does fall into the serve-orientated bracket himself, and my model has the first set tiebreak being around a 69% likelihood for this meeting.
Despite this, we can get odds against with the Sportsbook, who are currently 11/10 (2.10) for over 12.5 games in the first set, while my model makes this a 1.45 likelihood. Rather like Isner's opening round match, it's impossible to ignore such a mathematical discrepancy and I'm doubling down on the first set tiebreak again as today's recommendation.
Opelka and Bautista-Agut also with potential for tiebreaks
Another match with potential for tiebreaks is Isner's younger version, Reilly Opelka, who faces Roberto Bautista-Agut. It's only Bautista-Agut's more return-orientated style which prevents such a high likelihood of a first set tiebreak here, and if fit, the Spaniard looks a little value at [1.69] at the time of writing. He's still fighting for a lucrative ATP Tour Finals spot but a lot will depend on how he has recovered from his retirement against Sam Querrey last time out in Beijing.
Thiem looking over-rated against Carreno-Busta
Despite being ranked inside the top 40, Pablo Carreno-Busta needed to qualify to be here this week and we can forgive his implosion against David Goffin last week in Tokyo after winning the Chengdu event immediately prior. However, he's 1-5 down to Dominic Thiem in their head to head series (1-6 if you count exhibitions) but even so, the Austrian looks rather over-rated by the market against a very competent hard courter.
Thiem is currently priced at [1.44] to get the win here, and I wonder how fresh he will be after winning in Beijing at the weekend, needing three sets to win both Saturday's semi-final and Sunday's final. In addition, he has a pretty mediocre record in quick conditions, which he's likely to find here, and also the latter stages of seasons in general.
If Carreno-Busta is to overturn this head to head record, he'll need to improve his service numbers primarily. He's won fewer than 60% of service points against Thiem in their career head to head matches, but I do think he's pretty capable of a good display at [3.15] tomorrow.
Djokovic among big names beginning their tournament
In other matches, Novak Djokovic gets his campaign underway with a meeting against Denis Shapovalov, and is a heavy favourite to progress after his win in Tokyo last week, while David Goffin (against Mikhail Kukushkin) and Alexander Zverev (versus Jeremy Chardy) are the other heavier favourites taking to the courts on Wednesday in Shanghai.
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