Indian Wells Masters Day Four: Bhambri can keep matters close against Pouille

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic returns to main tour action tonight...
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Sunday night's action at the Indian Wells Masters features the remaining 16 second round matches in the event, and sees the return to action of Novak Djokovic. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, checks out the schedule...

"Bhambri's record on hard court - albeit at a lower level - is outstanding, and he's broken opponents almost 35% of the time on the surface at Challenger level in the last 12 months."

Djokovic returns to tour action this evening

The big names in the bottom half of the draw get their Indian Wells campaigns underway tonight, with Novak Djokovic returning to action following the Australian Open and he's a heavy favourite to see off the Japanese player, Taro Daniel. Other big names beginning their tournament this evening include our outright selection, Marin Cilic, as well as Alexander Zverev, Juan Martin Del Potro and another injury-afflicted player in Milos Raonic.

Generally in Masters and Slams, the market is quite efficient in pricing the more high-profile players, so it tends to be the matches featuring the non-elite which have the value, and this is largely in evidence here, with most of the above being relatively accurately priced, according to my model.

We were certainly unfortunate to lose our unbeaten run in the event last night where the underdog, Matteo Berrettini, lost from a set and break up against Daniil Medvedev, but I'm also looking towards an underdog today to get us back on track.

Talented Bhambri with the ability to push Pouille

At 1930 UK time, Yuki Bhambri takes on Lucas Pouille, with the Indian talent, Bhambri, a generous looking [3.55] on the Exchange. Bhambri's record on hard court - albeit at a lower level - is outstanding, and he's broken opponents almost 35% of the time on the surface at Challenger level in the last 12 months.

Opponent Pouille has a positive hard court record, winning 64.2% of points on serve and 36.7% on return but this isn't much better than top 50 level, and I feel he's over-rated here due to his excellent record indoors, where he is superb. Those indoor courts naturally are likely to be quicker than he will find here outdoors in California, and it is very possible that he may not be a fan of these slower conditions at all.

However, I must point out that the Frenchman does have a key attribute in that he's very strong at winning tight matches, so perhaps the best approach will be to take Bhambri +3.5 games at [2.10] on the game handicap.

Edmund and Sock among vulnerable short-priced favourites

In other matches, Kyle Edmund looks short at [1.36] to get past the lucky loser, Dudi Sela - let's not forget that he pulled out of his last tournament before it even started - while even with his decline, Feliciano Lopez looks a little big at [1.94] to get past the erratic Ernesco Escobedo.

I'm also keen to see how Jack Sock fares against Thomas Fabbiano. Sock is [1.31] to get the win, but his stats have dropped markedly in recent months and it would take a brave bettor to side with the out of sorts American at these prices.

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