Alcaraz pushed by Khachanov in victory
Karatsev should get past Zhang
Struff capable of testing Tsitsipas
Favourites progress in straight sets yesterday
Both Carlos Alcaraz and Borna Coric got the job done in straight sets yesterday to reach the semi-finals, although Alcaraz was pushed a little more by Karen Khachanov than many would have anticipated.
While a 2-0 set scoreline looks comfortable enough, winning just 52% of points in the match shows that Alcaraz didn't have it all his own way, and if Khachanov could have won certain key points in the match, it could have been a very different outcome.
Today, there's a fairly similar dynamic from a pre-match pricing perspective, with one heavy favourite - Stefanos Tsitsipas - and one solid favourite, but nowhere near as short, in Aslan Karatsev.
Zhang's tournament data shows how variance-heavy his run has been
Karatsev features in the opener on the schedule against Zhizhen Zhang, who has had an incredible run to the quarter-finals here including victories over Taylor Fritz and Cameron Norrie.
All four of Zhang's wins have been as a pre-match underdog, and the last three have been won in final set tiebreaks, which illustrates yet again how important winning key points in matches is, and the variance involved in doing so.
So, for Zhang to make the semi-finals, he'll need a fifth underdog win in a row. He's priced up at 2.6213/8to do so, and I'm not a buyer of that line. Primarily this is due to his run to this stage being so variance-heavy.
He's held 88% and broken 10%, so with return numbers being so poor, and that clear reliance on winning big points and tiebreaks, my view is that dynamic is completely unsustainable and will mean-revert sooner rather than later.
Karatsev's numbers in this event so far have been much more impressive, and he has an obvious higher ceiling from previous results as well, in addition to reasonably solid clay data over the last few years on the main tour. Plus, better numbers in Challengers too on clay - so it's Karatsev for the win here.
Tsitsipas a little short-priced ahead of Struff battle
We've benefited from Jan-Lennard Struff's run to this stage in the earlier rounds but the market considers him a long-shot to make the semi-finals today with Stefanos Tsitsipas just 1.211/5 to eliminate the German.
I'm not entirely sure that the Greek will have matters his own way today, and indeed, Struff has beaten him twice when Tsitsipas was a top ten player already back in 2019.
Their last four meetings have all gone to a final set, and in these quick conditions, I would anticipate another close match where, as I've often said, key points will dictate plenty.
Both players haven't had it all their own way to get to this stage, with Tsitsipas close to elimination in his opener against Dominic Thiem, and while Tsitsipas is clearly the better clay-courter based on data, the market price does look a little on the short side given the potential variance-heavy nature of the match.
If pushed, I'd lean towards Struff on the game handicap here today with a 4.5 game head start being priced a little below even money at the time of writing.