Day three at the Indian Wells Masters sees a number of big names join the event, as the second round begins. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, is back to run through Saturday night's schedule...
"Medvedev is certainly the higher profile prospect, after his breakthrough year last season and first title in Sydney this year, but Berrettini has made huge strides in Challengers during the last 12 months or so, making six finals since November 2016, with five either on hard or indoor hard."
Federer among big names in action on Saturday night
As with Thursday and Friday, there are 16 men's singles matches on the card tonight, and with second round action commencing, we see Dominic Thiem, Grigor Dimitrov and Roger Federer among the high profile players in action this evening.
Federer, according to the market, is virtually guaranteed to beat the Argentine clay-courter, Federico Delbonis, while Thiem is rated as a [1.34] favourite to despatch youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas. Dimitrov is a bigger [1.48] against the Spanish veteran, Fernando Verdasco, and in medium-slow conditions, that looks a little short to me, albeit against an opponent who can exhibit a big difference in level from match to match.
Dzumhur likely to defeat mediocre Kicker
Yesterday saw us go 3/3 for the tournament so far, with Marton Fucsovics disposing of Viktor Troicki in straight sets, and there are a couple of spots today worth considering, in our attempt to keep our unbeaten Indian Wells record intact.
First up, Damir Dzumhur is [1.35] to get past Nicolas Kicker, and the Argentine, Kicker, has atrocious hard court stats. In the last two years on in main tour hard court matches, he's held just 68.2% and broken opponents 19.4% (combined 87.6%) and that's not even Challenger Tour level. It really would be a surprise if Kicker was to win and my model priced Dzumhur at [1.25] to progress.
Coric vulnerable against Ramos
Later on in the schedule, Borna Coric looks over-rated in these conditions at [1.52] to get past Albert Ramos, who may well enjoy the pace of the courts here. However, Ramos had a very mediocre Golden Swing on the South American clay, with consecutive losses to Nicolas Jarry, and it might be worth seeing how the Spaniard fares in the first few games of this match, before getting involved.
Value on Berrettini in battle of young prospects
The match I want to focus on starts not before 22:00 UK time as Daniil Medvedev faces Matteo Berrettini in the battle of two excellent young prospects. Medvedev is certainly the higher profile prospect, after his breakthrough year last season and first title in Sydney this year, but Berrettini has made huge strides in Challengers during the last 12 months or so, making six finals since November 2016, with five either on hard or indoor hard.
Medvedev looks short-priced for this at [1.52], with an opponent difficulty adjustment on Berrettini's Challenger data giving him an expected combined hold/break percentage of around 100% for the main tour. This may surprise a few readers, but he's an excellent prospect who hasn't done himself justice in his four main tour matches in the last 12 months (primarily due to poor performances on break points, both on serve and return).
Berrettini's strengths generally lie on serve, where he's held almost 90% in the last 12 months on the Challenger Tour, and with the value on him, I like him as a generously priced underdog at [2.88] this evening.
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