Action at the Miami Masters sees the third round of the men's singles conclude, and with a number of competitive matches in prospect, our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, previews the schedule...
"While Khachanov's 2018 numbers are impressive, winning 68.4% of service points and 37.2% on return (combined 105.6%) they are still short of Anderson's, and it's worth noting that the vast majority of his success on the main tour has come in quicker conditions (indoor hard and grass) and the medium-slow conditions in Miami are unlikely to be of assistance to him."
Player motivation likely to be high given financial incentives
There are eight men's matches tonight in Florida, with players competiting to make it into the fourth round, which offers a minimum of $88,135 prize money, in addition to 90 ranking points. Essentially, with prize money for the third round being $47,170, a win tonight is worth over $40,000 to players, and on this basis, player motivation should be high.
Del Potro shortening as tournament favourite following defeat of Nishikori
Last night, we saw the new tournament favourite, Juan Martin Del Potro, ease to a straight set victory over Kei Nishikori, and the Argentinian has now shortened into [3.75] for the title. Among others, there were wins for Marin Cilic and Hyeon Chung, and both are now into single-digit figures on the Exchange, with Nick Kyrgios, Alexander Zverev and Kevin Anderson slightly behind them in the outright market currently.
Anderson a value favourite against over-rated Khachanov
All three are in action tonight in the third round, with Kyrgios and Zverev accurately priced as favourites to varying extents, against Fabio Fognini and David Ferrer, respectively, and while one of our outright selections, Anderson, is also a favourite tonight, my data makes his price a little more inaccurate.
At the time of writing, the big South African is [1.56] to get the better of Karen Khachanov, the young Russian who has stepped up this season to be a major threat on the ATP Tour.
While Khachanov's 2018 numbers are impressive, winning 68.4% of service points and 37.2% on return (combined 105.6%) they are still short of Anderson's, and it's worth noting that the vast majority of his success on the main tour has come in quicker conditions (indoor hard and grass) and the medium-slow conditions in Miami are unlikely to be of assistance to him.
We saw Khachanov struggle in similar conditions a fortnight ago at Indian Wells, losing to Evgeny Donskoy, and an opening win over Marius Copil doesn't particularly endorse his credentials, given the Romanian's disaste for slower conditions as well.
My model priced Anderson at [1.41] to progress to the fourth round here, so taking this price on him makes some sense.
We opposed Steve Johnson in the previous round to our expense, and the American again looks short enough, albeit against a player who hasn't been particularly consistent this year, in Pablo Carreno-Busta, who is available at [1.89] on the Exchange.
Kokkinakis opposition can wait
I also mentioned in recent previews that Thanasi Kokkinakis might be ripe for some opposition in the future, but I'm not convinced Fernando Verdasco - who cannot even boast a combined hold/break percentage of 100% on hard court in the last 12 months - is the opponent to do it against, with the Spanish veteran a market [1.70] favourite.
Querrey and Coric accurately priced as marginal favourites
In other matches, Sam Querrey looks fairly priced as marginal favourite over Denis Shapovalov, and likewise our other long-shot outright choice, Borna Coric does, against Jack Sock. Tomas Berdych, at a shorter [1.44], also looks pretty accurately assessed by the market, for his clash with Frances Tiafoe.
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Back Kevin Anderson at [1.56] to beat Karen Khachanov