It's semi-final day in Toronto with Stefanos Tsitsipas facing Reilly Opelka, and Daniil Medvedev versus John Isner. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, is back to discuss the day ahead...
"Due to the presence of Opelka and Isner, the dynamic of both of today's semi-finals are likely to be extremely serve-orientated."
Tournament favourites progress to semi-finals
The two tournament favourites got the job done yesterday, although in rather different ways. Stefanos Tsitsipas eased past Casper Ruud for the loss of just five games, while Daniil Medvedev was hugely pushed by Hubert Hurkacz. The Russian lost the first set 2-6, before fighting back to win two tiebreaks in a real battle.
Outright market extremely competitive
This has seen the gap between Medvedev and Tsitsipas narrow in the outright market, with Medvedev still the tournament favourite but barely so, now trading at 2.265/4 at the time of writing with Tsitsipas at 2.427/5. Today's pre-match underdogs, the big-serving American duo of Reilly Opelka and John Isner, are the long-shots in the outright market.
Due to the presence of Opelka and Isner, the dynamic of both of today's semi-finals are likely to be extremely serve-orientated. The first match on the card, between Tsitsipas and Opelka at 20:00 UK time, should be the match most dominated by serve with Tsitsipas also conforming to that dynamic as well.
Opelka four from four on tiebreaks this week
Tsitsipas is the market favourite at 1.251/4, and my model agrees with this line - the duo have almost identical service hold percentages on hard court in the last 12 months but Tsitsipas' return data gives him a huge advantage over the rather limited returner, Opelka.
The American has won four from four tiebreaks this week and that probably gives some pretty solid insight into how he's managed to get to this stage, and shows the high variance approach which a big-server has to take.
It seems reasonable to think that should an Opelka victory occur today, it will also feature at least one tiebreak win.
Isner also needing a high-variance approach
In reality, that's probably also likely to be the case for John Isner, who is also unbeaten in tiebreaks this week, with one in each of his last two matches against Andrey Rublev and Gael Monfils. It's unlikely that he will put consistent pressure on the serve of opponent Daniil Medvedev, although it's fair to point out that the tournament favourite actually won 10 fewer points against Hubert Hurkacz in victory, than the Pole managed in defeat.
Medvedev only created two break point opportunities in the entire match and will need to be better tonight if he is to avoid further tiebreaks today. As a strong pre-match favourite at 1.374/11 - not a million miles away from my model price - Medvedev will want to make the clash as low-variance as possible, so will be keen to put in a much improved display in the late match tonight.
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