Men's singles action at the Toronto Masters continues on Wednesday with the conclusion of the second round. Dan Weston returns to discuss the day ahead...
"A similar serving display from Basilashvili today - he had a very low 45% first-serve percentage - would see him struggle against Alex De Minaur."
Ruud defeats Cilic as Nadal withdraws
We managed to pick up a winner from round two yesterday with Casper Ruud ousting Marin Cilic in three sets, while tournament favourite Daniil Medvedev also needed three to get the better of Alexander Bublik.
The other big news was the withdrawal of Rafa Nadal. His countryman Feliciano Lopez picked up a lucky loser spot and faces Lloyd Harris today. Nadal's withdrawal has seen Medvedev shorten to 3.39/4 to lift the trophy with Stefanos Tsitsipas 4.84/1 the clear second favourite now.
Medvedev and Tsitsipas reached round three with wins yesterday and 24 players today in second round action are competing for the other 12 third-round spots. The likes of Harris, plus Jannik Sinner, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Andrey Rublev are all heavy favourites to do so, although Sinner after his exploits in Washington could be short-priced at 1.192/11 to defeat James Duckworth.
Basilashvili fortunate to defeat Brooksby
Sinner defeated Jenson Brooksby in the semi-final of Washington en route to the title and the talented young American succumbed after a good start against Nikoloz Basilashvili on Monday in round one. Fatigue could have been an issue but Basilashvili faced a huge 17 break point chances on his serve in that match, and Brooksby clearly didn't take his chances.
A similar serving display from Basilashvili today - he had a very low 45% first-serve percentage - would see him struggle against Alex De Minaur today and the Australian needs to get back to winning ways after a loss versus Steve Johnson last week in the American capital.
De Minaur is 1.645/8 to get the win over the inconsistent Basilashvili and I think that's decent enough value.
Khachanov could be vulnerable against countryman Karatsev
From a fatigue perspective, Karen Khachanov also looks vulnerable, and he's a 1.695/7 pre-match favourite to defeat fellow Russian, Aslan Karatsev. After a stunning start to the year, Karatsev has mean-reverted slightly, as was anticipated, but he's still a decent player and I'm surprised to see this market pricing. He looks the best slight underdog option of the day.
Monfils struggling in the last few months
In other matches, Gael Monfils has really struggled this year and hasn't won back-to-back matches since February. Longer-term rankings, which should be changed now pretty much every player is back into regular action, mean he still got a bye as a top 16 seed, but is underdog against John Millman today. A competent Monfils would make a mockery of the 2.447/5 market pricing, but we haven't seen a high level from him in recent months.
Finally, the biggest-serving match is likely to be between John Isner and Cristian Garin, which will have just shy of a 40% chance of a first-set tiebreak, according to my model. Isner is the 1.434/9 favourite, and it will be interesting to see how he fares against the Chilean clay-courter in what could be a fairly high-variance encounter.
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