Alcaraz edging closer to Medvedev in outrights
Medvedev faces Zverev in match of the day
Norrie potential value as an underdog pick
Alcaraz closer to Medvedev in outrights after Monday win
Arguably the biggest news from Monday's action was Stan Wawrinka shocking Holger Rune to defeat the Dane in three sets, while Jack Draper got past Andy Murray in the all-British clash.
Wins for the likes of Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz continued their progression in the event, with Alcaraz now into 4.57/2 as second favourite. Following his win last night, Sinner is 7.87/1 while Daniil Medvedev 3.185/40 is the tournament favourite still, despite his clear and obvious dislike for the slow conditions which are again on display in California for the event.
Medvedev justified favourite despite hatred of conditions
Matches this evening get underway at 1800 UK time and Medvedev opens the schedule with a fascinating clash against Alexander Zverev. As mentioned several days ago on this column,
Zverev is yet to beat a player ranked inside the top 50 in main tour matches after his injury comeback and was arguably very fortunate to get past Emil Ruusuvuori in round three, winning fewer points than the Finn in the match. Medvedev is 1.3030/100 to get the win, which is hard to dispute even given the slow conditions.
Alcaraz a similar price for Draper clash
Similarly priced is Alcaraz at 1.321/3 for his match against the improving Brit, Jack Draper, who I expect to be pushing the top 20 by the end of the season if he has an injury-clear year.
Draper pushed the Spanish phenom indoors in Basel towards the end of last season, losing a tight deciding set, but these conditions should be much more up Alcaraz's street, although it's worth noting that Draper is an upgrade to the two players which Alcaraz has beaten so far to get to this stage.
A number of other pre-match favourites are also priced around the 1.3030/100 mark for their matches, including Taylor Fritz, Jannik Sinner and Frances Tiafoe, and it's quite tricky to make a huge case for opposition in either - although I think Fritz probably looks the most vulnerable against Marton Fucsovics.
This doesn't give us much to go on in terms of value hunting, although the two matches where the market anticipates matters to be much closer look to be our best spots.
Market finding it tough to split Paul and Auger-Aliassime
In the first, Tommy Paul and Felix Auger-Aliassime are virtually unsplittable, with the market basically making the duo 'pick-em' apiece, and there's the varying dynamics of Auger-Aliassime's stronger serve but Paul's better return game at play.
Paul has won six of his last seven including decent wins over Taylor Fritz and Hubert Hurkacz, while we have to go back four tournaments to find the last occasion Auger-Aliassime won three consecutive matches in the same event - which he would do if he won tonight.
I think this is probably the reason for the market prices, with Auger-Aliassime the more noted player currently, although the market will also be considering Paul's more return-oriented dynamic as well, which in theory should suit the conditions more.
Norrie underdog value ahead of Rublev clash
The other closer-looking clash is Cameron Norrie versus Andrey Rublev, and it's Rublev who is the favourite at 1.695/7.
Interestingly, Norrie was favourite last time they met (US Open in September last year) but Rublev won in three 6-4 sets in a dominant display where he won 56% of points in the match.
Norrie has impressed of late, though, with some strong results on clay in South America and actually has better numbers on hard court than Rublev in the last year, with a big advantage on return points won percentages. I'm not so sure about Norrie being the underdog here, so he's today's pick at what looks to be a nice underdog price.