The Miami Masters starts on Wednesday afternoon, with matches starting at 15:00 UK time. After a strong showing at Indian Wells across the last fortnight, our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, previews the day one schedule...
"Odds of [1.64] about Norrie seem generous - my model priced him at [1.40] and when taking into account his Challenger numbers, including adjustment for opponent quality, he's anticipated to have slightly over 100% combined hold/break percentage on hard court - a solid top 50 level."
Vesely and Simon look vulnerable favourites on day one
In what are expected to be similar medium-slow conditions to those the players experienced in California, first round action gets underway this afternoon in Miami, with the opening 16 men's singles matches. As always, I recommend caution when betting in the opening round of events, where player condition, and often motivation, is questionable.
There are a number of fascinating match-ups on the first day, with quite a few taking place a little later on in the schedule. In the earlier matches, I'm interested to see how Jiri Vesely and Gilles Simon fare against Lukas Lacko and Matt Ebden, respectively, with Vesely a [1.83] favourite to progress past Lacko, and Simon fancied by the market at [1.44] to defeat Ebden.
My model indicated both prices are rather unattractive, with Vesely's level in 2018 very poor indeed, while Simon's struggles with his serve as he gets older continue - he's held just 71.8% on hard court in the last 12 months, which won't get the job done against many opponents. Both Lacko and Ebden have solid records on hard court on the Challenger Tour, and are unlikely to be a pushover.
Norrie can continue improvement at expense of Jarry
Two Brits have progressed through qualifying, with Cameron Norrie's reward being the lucky loser, Nicolas Jarry. I've identified Norrie as a player of high potential for a number of years now, and he's on the cusp of breaking into the top 100. Statistically, he's certainly well into that already, and I'd be surprised if he lost to the Chilean hard courter.
Odds of [1.64] about Norrie seem generous - my model priced him at [1.40] and when taking into account his Challenger numbers, including adjustment for opponent quality, he's anticipated to have slightly over 100% combined hold/break percentage on hard court - a solid top 50 level.
It's probably fair to suggest that Norrie hasn't done himself justice in his nine main tour events in the last 12 months, winning just two, but he's had issues saving break points and I expect that to mean-revert as he gets more experience. Jarry has played just three main tour hard court matches in the last 12 months, and has only won eight on the surface overall out of 19 during that time period, and he's lost to numerous players worse than the British talent.
Improving Broady value against Fratangelo
The other Brit who has made the first round is Liam Broady, who is starting to do justice to his talent, with some solid results at Challenger level and a win here should break him into the top 150, which would be a career high.
Broady takes on the American, Bjorn Fratangelo, who hasn't kicked on in the last couple of years, and Fratangelo has recorded just around a 50% win percentage on hard court on Challenger Tour in the last 12 months, with mediocre hold/break data.
In fact, my model likes Broady a great deal here, pricing him at [1.76], making the current [2.46] about him looks very strong value indeed, and we can get another Brit onside this evening.
Tiebreaks likely in Karlovic's match against Pospisil
Finally, despite medium-slow conditions, tiebreaks are likely in the Ivo Karlovic v Vasek Pospisil match, which obviously features two serve-orientated players. My model made a first set tiebreak a 44% chance today, but the Sportsbook has accurately reflected this, offering odds of just 5/4 on this eventuality.
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