Second round action at ATP Madrid continues on Wednesday with 11 matches on the schedule as more big names get their tournaments underway. Dan Weston returns to give his thoughts on day four...
"This figure is actually below Schwartzman on all surfaces this year, yet Schwartzman has only won around two-thirds of his matches, and those differing win percentages plus the difficulty quantifying Karatsev right now given his strange career trajectory, looks like causing the market some issues."
Big names begin their tournaments on Wednesday
Matches again get started at 10:00 UK time in the Spanish capital as the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Rafa Nadal face their first opposition after receiving a first-round bye.
Medvedev with much to prove on clay
Starting with Medvedev, the Russian faces a tricky match against the Spanish 21-year-old Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, and after receiving early market support Medvedev is trading at 1.635/8 on the Exchange.
Davidovich Fokina is in good form on clay this year and this illustrates the upward trajectory which his career is taking having just broken into the top 50 in the rankings. He reached the semi-finals in Estoril last week, and the quarter-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters in April (before picking up a thigh injury which forced his retirement) and had an epic three-tiebreak match against Pierre-Hugues Herbert which lasted just shy of three hours.
Medvedev is rather unproven on clay court, winning just four of ten matches on the surface in the last two years and running at below 100% combined service/return points won percentage during that time period on clay. There's obviously going to be upside there - he's world number three after all - and it's a small sample but certainly against higher-profile opposition he would have a lot of questions to answer. I think Medvedev is short-priced here but I'm not brave enough to make it a formal recommendation.
Delbonis looking short-priced against Ramos
Yesterday we discussed Albert Ramos as potential underdog value but with potential fatigue issues after winning in Estoril last week but the Spaniard got through in three sets against Taylor Fritz in round one, albeit in what looked a variance-heavy manner given that Fritz was just 2/10 on break point chances and Ramos 3/3.
These factors may be influencing the market with regards to Ramos for his meeting with Federico Delbonis, with Delbonis the pre-match favourite at 1.625/8. Simply based on year-long clay numbers, this price is absurd - Ramos has the edge.
Schwartzman looking like some value against Karatsev
I'm also surprised to see Diego Schwartzman underdog against Aslan Karatsev, even in quicker conditions. The return-orientated Schwartzman would probably prefer slower conditions but in Madrid, there's not much to go on in terms of how he performs in these quicker conditions here. He's only played three events here - two ranked outside the top 20 - and two of his losses came against Kei Nishikori (who was top 10 at the time) and Rafa Nadal.
Karatsev is the sensation of the season so far, winning almost 80% of his main tour matches but I think this flatters the Russian based on his underlying data. His numbers are good, but certainly not in line with that win percentage, with all-surface 2021 numbers running at marginally below 105% combined service/return points won.
This figure is actually below Schwartzman on all surfaces this year, yet Schwartzman has only won around two-thirds of his matches, and those differing win percentages plus the difficulty quantifying Karatsev right now given his strange career trajectory, looks like causing the market some issues.
On clay, the differential is even bigger right now and I like Schwartzman as an underdog at the current 2.486/4. I make him favourite to make round three.
King of Clay facing the potential future King
The other match which looks really worth mentioning is the all-Spanish match between Rafa Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz Garfia, with there being a theme of the King versus the potential future King. Nadal is 1.081/12 to get the win, which looks about right, but Alcaraz Garfia is a young player with huge upside in the future and it will be fascinating to see where he is at against an all-time great.
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