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ATP Rome Masters Day 6 Preview: Djokovic can continue Del Potro's head to head misery

Novak Djokovic can celebrate victory tonight...
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Our focus today is the quarter-final action at the Rome Masters, and with all matches available on Betfair Live Video, our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, aims to continue his successful week in Italy...


"Del Potro has a low projected hold percentage (71.9%) and with Djokovic recovering over 60% of break deficits, these metrics assess him as a vulnerable front-runner today - laying the Argentine when leading by a break when he is trading below starting price should be a viable trading proposition."

2017 Success continues with two winners yesterday


Yesterday's two selections were both winners for followers, with Juan Martin Del Potro having too much for Kei Nishikori, as expected, while Stan Wawrinka and John Isner combined for a first set tie-break at a juicy 21/10. These two successes boosted our return on investment for 2017 to a superb 14.72% from 86 pre-match bets and pre-tournament outright bets.

Sadly, after losing the tiebreak, Wawrinka's level significantly dropped in the second set, and was ousted by the big American, and one of our outright back-to-lay selections fell by the wayside.


Cilic still with chances for our back-to-lay outright


However, we do still have Marin Cilic left from our portfolio of two, and the Croat - as a slight underdog - disposed of David Goffin in straight sets yesterday. He's now into [17.5] from a recommended [46.0] at the start of the event.

Isner and Cilic meet in today's first quarter-final, at 11am UK time, and with Cilic correctly priced as a strong [1.42] favourite to progress, there is no need for us to look at hedging our position just yet. With Cilic breaking opponents a superb 31.7% on clay in the last 12 months, our options for this match do not include any tiebreak bets, despite Isner holding 93.6% on clay in the same time period.

Both of the next two matches on the schedule, between Alexander Zverev and Milos Raonic, and Dominic Thiem versus Rafa Nadal, also look well priced by the markets, with Raonic at [1.88] and Nadal at [1.16] the favourites to progress.


Thiem meets Nadal for third time in a month


It will be interesting if Thiem can continue to make his head to head matches with Nadal more competitive. The Austrian managed to keep last week's final defeat in Madrid (6-7 4-6) much closer than a fortnight before in Barcelona (4-6 1-6) and it is far from inconceivable that he has learnt things from those defeats.

However, to progress, and completely open up the outright markets, he will need to be the first player to defeat Nadal on clay this year - the Spaniard is 17-0 on the dirt in 2017.


Djokovic can end Del Potro's good week


The final match on the card is the one I want to focus on from a pre-match betting perspective, with Novak Djokovic facing Juan Martin Del Potro.

We've been successful recommending Del Potro twice this week, against Grigor Dimitrov and Kei Nishikori, but I want to change course here as my model indicated value on Djokovic here at a current [1.51].

Being 'on' a player several times in an event, and then opposing them in the same event is quite rare for my model, because if a player starts the week as value, they often continue to do so, but I feel that Djokovic is under-rated by the market given the speculation surrounding his level and also his coaching set-up.

Despite this, he is 13-4 in his career in head to head matches against Del Potro and my model priced the Serb at [1.40]. Several months ago, at Indian Wells, we successfully recommended Djokovic against the Argentine, and I'm going for the repeat today.

Furthermore, Del Potro has a low projected hold percentage (71.9%) and with Djokovic recovering over 60% of break deficits, these metrics assess him as a vulnerable front-runner today - laying the Argentine when leading by a break when he is trading below starting price should be a viable trading proposition.

Recommended Bets

Back Novak Djokovic -2.5 games at 1.76


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Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings


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