Indian Wells draws to a conclusion tonight, and back to discuss the men's final between Dominic Thiem and Roger Federer is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...
"In addition, Federer's 12 month hold/break data does show a decent edge over Thiem, with around a 5% edge on serve and 2% advantage on return."
Nadal withdraws prior to Federer meeting
It was a case of mixed emotions last night with our outright selection, Rafa Nadal, withdrawing from the event prior to his match with Roger Federer. However, we improved our daily recommendations record for the tournament to 6-2 (all priced close to even money or greater) with Dominic Thiem's victory over Milos Raonic.
Thiem deserving of Raonic victory
The Austrian took the only break of the match in set three, and looking at the match stats, he deserved the win. He took one of his three break points, saving the solitary opportunity Raonic had during the match, and took 52% of the points during the meeting. At [2.48], it was a nice value victory.
Federer accurately priced to lift the trophy
Last night, however, is where our tournament ends from a pre-match value recommendation perspective. Federer is priced at [1.30] on the Exchange, very similar to my model, which priced the Swiss man at [1.35] to lift the trophy tonight, probably at around midnight UK time - the match is scheduled to start not before 22:30 UK time, after the conclusion of the women's final.
Federer harshly treated by head to head results
The duo have met on four occasions previously, the last of which was Federer's 6-2 6-3 triumph over Thiem in London during the World Tour Finals in November. Of course, this was a dominant win for Federer, although there are rather different circumstances to this encounter.
At the Tour Finals last season, Thiem wasn't in great shape physically and as I've mentioned numerous times previously, tends to struggle during the latter half of the season following scheduling deficiencies earlier in the campaign. In addition, conditions in London (on indoor hard) are markedly different to the slowish hard courts that tonight's match-up is played on in California.
However, it is still worth pointing out that despite the duo sharing two victories apiece from their four meetings, Thiem's data is much worse than Federer's, with the Austrian holding serve just 72% of the time against Federer. Roger has been able to hold considerably more in their historical head to head meetings, doing so just over 86%.
In what often is the case in small sample sizes, wild fluctuation in break point performance has a considerable impact, and with Federer saving under 50% of break points on his serve against Thiem in his career, this has been a major contributory factor as to why the series reads 2-2, as opposed to Federer leading it. This will almost certainly mean-revert towards his service points won expectations if they play a number of further head to head matches in their careers.
Federer with solid hard court statistical advantage
In addition, Federer's 12 month hold/break data does show a decent edge over Thiem, with around a 5% edge on serve and 2% advantage on return. With both players breaking similar to the hard court mean on the ATP Tour, but holding considerably more, quite a serve-orientated match is anticipated, despite the relatively slow conditions.
Given the statistical advantage that Federer enjoys over Thiem on hard court, I do think the prices are about right for tonight's match, and there cannot be any pre-match recommendation on this basis.
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