Paris Masters Day 7 Preview: Krajinovic and Sock final a fitting end to a bizarre season

Jack Sock needs a win to qualify for the World Tour Finals...
Jack Sock needs a win to qualify for the World Tour Finals...

Sunday sees the final of the Paris Masters - the last match on the regular ATP Tour in 2017. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, takes a look at the numbers...

"Logic suggests that the big occasion may get to Krajinovic - he wept following victory over Isner yesterday - and in addition to the World Tour Finals motivation that Sock will have, a routine win for the American will be expected by many. However, in a season where the ridiculous has occurred much more than the sublime, we certainly cannot rule out a Krajinovic victory in not just his first Masters 1000 level final, but ATP final as well."

Krajinovic and Sock compete in bizarre Masters final match-up

Prior to this week, the 25 year old Filip Krajinovic was 14-29 in ATP Tour main draw matches throughout his career, with just one victory (via retirement) at Masters 1000 level, while Jack Sock entered the event on the back of a 4-8 record from August onwards.

If I'd have predicted that this duo would be competing in the final in my pre-tournament preview, I'd have been mocked by all, but this is the incredible situation that we find ourselves in this week.

In a way, it's a fitting end to the most bizarre tennis season that I can remember - a season where virtually all of the top ten have been considerably beset by injury, while a number of incredible runs in tournaments from mediocre players with extreme positive variance have manifested themselves.

Sock correctly priced as favourite to triumph

So - who is going to win?

Well, the market has this incredible Masters final match-up well priced - Sock is a 1.501/2 favourite with the Exchange - and my model agreed with this line, and it's also worth noting that there is also the side issue for the American player, with Sock needing a victory today to sneak into the top eight for the World Tour Finals - an achievement which looked extremely unlikely during his woeful form in the last few months.

Given this, it's certainly difficult to find a pre-match angle worthy of committing any funds towards - the decent opportunity on Krajinovic was yesterday, when we recommended him at a huge price against John Isner - and trading angles also look in short supply.

Quick conditions makes match-up slightly serve-orientated

In fairly quick conditions - players have again served more aces and held more service games in Paris than the indoor hard mean - projected hold percentages for the two players are in excess of the ATP mean, but not unduly so, and as favourite, Sock has a higher percentage.

The problem for Sock is that this year, he's shown an inability to perform well on key points, so I'm more reticent to look at backing him when losing in service games, and truth be told, I'm struggling to find any angle whatsoever to come up with here.

In finals, as I mentioned yesterday, Sock is 3-4 in his ATP career, while Krajinovic is yet to compete in a final on the main tour, but is 8-7 in his career in Challenger finals, and an impressive 5-0 in Challenger finals this year, although he was a sub 1.501/2 favourite in all but one of these.

Will logic prevail in the most bizarre season in memory?

Logic suggests that the big occasion may get to Krajinovic - he wept following victory over Isner yesterday - and in addition to the World Tour Finals motivation that Sock will have, a routine win for the American will be expected by many.

However, in a season where the ridiculous has occurred much more than the sublime, we certainly cannot rule out a Krajinovic victory in not just his first Masters 1000 level final, but ATP final as well.

***

Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings

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