Following the Paris Masters, ATP Sofia is the last main tour event before the Tour Finals next week in London. Dan Weston returns with his assessment of the Betfair odds...
"I think Cilic has been a little undervalued by the match markets of late, so it will be interesting to see how he fares this week."
Sofia the last chance for players on tour this season
After Daniil Medvedev fought back to win in three sets against Alexander Zverev yesterday in the final of the Paris Masters, the leading players on tour have a week off with the top eight men in the world meeting in London in a week's time for the Tour Finals.
For the remainder of the tour, ATP Sofia this week represents the final main tour opportunity this year to gain ranking points and tournament income in a disrupted 2020 season, and the field is something of a mixed bag for this last event of the main tour season.
Action actually got underway on Sunday afternoon with two low-profile opening matches, with John Millman easing to a win over wild card Adrian Andreev, and Radu Albot also getting the job done in straight sets against Yuichi Sugita.
Quick conditions anticipated in Sofia
Conditions in Bulgaria are likely to be on the quicker side of medium-paced for indoor hard courts, with three year service hold percentage, service points won percentage and tiebreaks per set ahead of the ATP surface mean figures, so some big-servers might get some joy in the event in the coming week, although that hasn't really manifested itself in the finalists roster since the tournament began in 2016.
The four seeds with byes are Denis Shapovalov, Alex De Minaur, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jan-Lennard Struff, with the former three at the top of the market along with Italian teenager, Jannik Sinner. All are priced around the 6.05/1 mark, with the outright market split between contenders - a dozen players are priced around 20.019/1 or shorter and the also-rans, with a similar number of players priced in excess of 50.049/1 and having little chance of making an impact.
Fucsovics versus Sinner the pick of round one
Running through the draw, Shapovalov's main threat in quarter one comes from recent Nur-Sultan finalist Adrian Mannarino, who tends to perform best in quicker conditions, while De Minaur is likely to face Marton Fucsovics or the aforementioned Sinner to win quarter two - their clash is probably the match of round one, and this is scheduled for tomorrow.
Cilic potentially undervalued of late
Moving on to Q3, Struff is the seeded player with a bye but faces a tricky round two clash with Vasek Pospisil, and Nur-Sultan winner John Millman plus veteran Gilles Simon could be a test in what looks a competitive bracket, while Auger-Aliassime has a kind bottom bracket with only Marin Cilic looking remotely able to challenge the Canadian prospect. I think Cilic has been a little undervalued by the match markets of late, so it will be interesting to see how he fares this week.
Auger-Aliassime's numbers indoors in the last 12 months are solid as opposed to unspectacular but is a player on the rise, and it will be interesting to see how he fares in the coming week. I also think that Sinner has the potential to eclipse Auger-Aliassime long-term (and already has slightly better data indoors albeit from a fairly small sample) but Sinner also has the trickiest round one match in Fucsovics.
The tournament looks competitive, and a tough one to call. The players at the forefront of the market look accurately priced, and so do the outsiders. There doesn't seem to be an abundance of mistakes in the outright market, and I anticipate player motivation to be pretty high as well given that it's the last tournament of the season - it's pretty reasonable to assume that any player who has made the effort to travel wants to be here and end their season on a positive note.
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