Second round action is the main focus at the Shanghai Masters 1000 on day four, with eleven matches on the schedule to decide who continues into round three. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, returns to preview Wednesday's card...
"Such issues have contributed to Simon's poor all-surface record of 13-22 in the calendar year, and considering Simon turns 33 in the off-season, it's difficult to envisage the Frenchman getting back close to his previous levels in the future."
Retirements create havoc on day three in Shanghai
On what was a bizarre day's action on Tuesday, retirements hurt us badly with our selection, Jack Sock, quitting in the third set against Alexandr Dolgopolov, while our outright pick, Nick Kyrgios, quite bizarrely walked off court following his first set tiebreak against Steve Johnson. With Mischa Zverev also retiring when leading, against Jan-Lennard Struff, there were three retirements across the 15 matches on day three.
Wednesday's pre-match markets looking very efficient
Quite incredibly, my model agreed with the market on all 11 of Wednesday's matches, with no player having greater than 4% implied value - my threshold - in the match odds markets. I also would have thought that the first set tiebreak side market would have provided us with some scope for a recommendation in one match in particular, but not so.
Serve-orientated match in prospect between Tsitsipas and Isner
Monday saw us record a winner at 11/10 when Feliciano Lopez and Ivo Karlovic combined to play a first set tiebreak, and in quick conditions, my model indicated that there was around a 54% likelihood of Stefanos Tsitsipas and John Isner doing the same tomorrow. However, the Sportsbook is offering just evens on this eventuality.
In these quick conditions in Shanghai, both players have projected hold percentages in excess of 90%, and the Greek youngster, Tsitsipas, has quite a serve-orientated dynamic, statistically. Tsitsipas will be buoyed having picked up his first main draw win of the season against Karen Khachanov yesterday, and while Isner is a strong [1.45] favourite, Tsitsipas should be able to keep this match relatively close.
Trading angle available as Goffin takes on Simon
Therefore I want to look at trading angles, with one specific match catching my attention. David Goffin is a [1.46] favourite against the declining Gilles Simon, and while that looks about right, Simon's service data this year is woeful, holding serve just 72.7% of the time in 2017.
Such issues have contributed to Simon's poor all-surface record of 13-22 in the calendar year, and considering Simon turns 33 in the off-season, it's difficult to envisage the Frenchman getting back close to his previous levels in the future.
Even in quick conditions, Simon's projected hold percentage is bang on 70% according to my model, and with Goffin recovering break deficits a solid amount - just over 42% of the time in the last couple of seasons - laying Simon when leading by a break looks and leading or level in sets looks a solid play here.
Nadal and Federer among big names in second-round action
In some of the later matches on the card, tournament favourites Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer continue their campaigns - both are heavy favourites over Jared Donaldson and Diego Schwartzman, respectively - while the likes of Alexander Zverev, Juan Martin Del Potro, Kevin Anderson and Dominic Thiem are also in action on what promises to be a high quality day four.
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