It's quarter-final day on day six of the Madrid Masters, and after two underdog winners yesterday, our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, returns to check out the value...
"Yesterday, Diego Schwartzman gave a decent account of himself against Nadal, losing 3 & 4, but the Nadal straight-set juggernaut rolls on, with the Spaniard incredibly winning his last 50 sets on clay."
Two underdog winners for followers on day five
We picked up two underdog winners on day five with the minimum of fuss as Kyle Edmund got the better of David Goffin in straight sets, while John Isner and Pablo Cuevas combined for the 'perfect 39' - three consecutive tiebreaks.
Our recommendation was simply the 7-6 first set scoreline, and they managed that in all sets, with just two break points - both for Cuevas - occurring in the entire match.
Lajovic not without a chance for Anderson clash
Another dramatic tiebreak in the final set saw Dusan Lajovic get a superb victory over Juan Martin Del Potro, and the Serbian clay-courter's reward is a quarter-final against Kevin Anderson, to open proceedings today in the Spanish capital.
Lajovic and Anderson take to the court at around mid-day UK time and it is the South African, Anderson, who is a worthy favourite here at 1.584/7 - a line my model broadly agreed with.
Thiem next in line for the Nadal steamroller
Following this, it is now Dominic Thiem's turn to try and win a set from the King of Clay, Rafa Nadal. Yesterday, Diego Schwartzman gave a decent account of himself against Nadal, losing 3 & 4, but the Nadal straight-set steamroller continues, with the Spaniard incredibly winning his last 50 sets on clay.
It was Thiem who last won a set from Nadal - all the way back in Rome last year - and indeed, Thiem won that match. However, the fact that Nadal is correctly priced at 1.071/14, against arguably his closest rival on clay, should give you an idea of quite how dominant he is on his favourite surface right now.
Edmund some value to get past Shapovalov
At around 18:00, after the Nadal match, Kyle Edmund takes to the court and faces the Canadian youngster Denis Shapovalov, with Edmund market favourite at a current 1.511/2 on the Exchange. Prior to this week in Madrid, Shapovalov had shown nothing in the way of clay prowess during his young career, but the quick conditions here look to have played into his hands.
Having said this, Edmund has been superb this week as well, and my model actually priced the Brit up at 1.412/5 to win today, making the current market lines some value.
Edmund has a pretty good record at covering the -2.5 game handicap when he wins as a favourite on clay, so taking the bigger price on this line appeals. This market is still forming on the Exchange, but general market lines suggest it will settle at around the 1.804/5 mark, and this is my preferred approach to take the value out of this match.
Tiebreaks again likely in an Isner match
Finally, in the night match, another similar scoreline in an Isner match is not out of the question, as he takes on Alexander Zverev. The German youngster is the 1.364/11 favourite to make it through to the semi-finals, which looks about right, but again, the prospect of tiebreaks is high.
My model made a first set tie-break a 56% chance, implying odds of 1.794/5 are correct, and while the Sportsbook's price is a little bigger on this eventuality - they price it at 10/11 - it isn't much value and it looks like they are 'once bitten, twice shy' following our success yesterday.
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Back Kyle Edmund -2.5 games to beat Denis Shapovalov at around 1.804/5