Miami Masters Day Five Tips: Fritz short-priced on day favourites should dominate

American Tennis Player Tommy Paul
Tommy Paul is a justified favourite tonight...

The third round of the Miami Masters gets underway today, and after a day featuring several shock results yesterday, Dan Weston returns with his thoughts...

  • De Minaur and Norrie shocked on day four

  • Alcaraz leads strong favourites tonight

  • Fritz could be tested by Shapovalov

  • Paul not far from being a value favourite

  • McDonald wins on day of tiebreaks

    Alex De Minaur and Cameron Norrie were the big victims on day four in Miami, with De Minaur being edged by Frenchman Quinton Halys in three sets which all went to tiebreaks, and Norrie underwhelming in two against another Frenchman, Gregoire Barrere.

    On a day where tiebreaks seemed to be the theme, we did pick up a nice underdog winner though with Mackenzie McDonald getting past Matteo Berrettini via two 7-6 shorelines, winning just three more points in a match featuring no breaks of serve. After some variance-heavy losers of late, we will take the positive variance when it comes.

    Fritz much more short-priced than recent Acapulco meeting

    Moving on to today, we flip back to the top half of the draw for the start of round three, with eight ATP matches on the Sunday schedule. Of those, a number feature strong favourites, with Carlos Alcaraz and Holger Rune expected to get past their opponents with relative ease.

    Still very strong favourites but a little bigger-priced is Taylor Fritz, Casper Ruud, Jannik Sinner and Andrey Rublev, so I'll start of the discussion for Sunday's matches about one who could be vulnerable to a shock.

    Fritz has lost five of his eight career matches against Denis Shapovalov, and it's evidence of how differently the two players' careers have evolved in recent times that he's 1.402/5 to get past the Canadian tonight. They met in Acapulco last month and Fritz was 1.654/6 that day, and the two preceding matches between the duo in October 2022 were pretty much even money apiece.

    After continued improvement, Fritz is 11-2 in his last four events, while Shapovalov has had a tough start to the year, losing thrice as favourite against opposition ranked outside the top 80 already in 2023.

    However, Shapovalov is capable of testing strong opponents, taking Hubert Hurkacz to five sets at the Australian Open, and it wasn't so long ago that he was thought of as a future star.

    At this point in time, however, Shapovalov is ranked 30 - a considerable drop from when he was ranked 10 when aged 21 towards the end of 2020 - and in my view would need to serve very well if he is to get past Fritz tonight. It's certainly possible, as he's shown in the past, and it's tough to make a really strong case for Fritz at such a short price.

    Paul should have too much for Davidovich Fokina

    The other match I want to discuss in some detail is Alejandro Davidovich Fokina versus Tommy Paul. Davidovich Fokina got past Paul's countryman, Brandon Nakashima, in a tight two-setter in the previous round, and faces a continued upgrade in opposition tonight.

    Paul is 1.664/6 to get the win here, as he did at the Australian Open in January when priced around 15 ticks shorter. The American has won a higher percentage of service and return points on hard court in the last year, and has much better numbers this year across surfaces - particularly on serve.

    My lean is that Paul's price is a little too big here, and anything over 1.705/7 would look some value.

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