Men's quarter finals at the Miami Open resume today, and after picking up a winner on day nine, our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, discusses Thursday's matches...
"Even in slowish conditions, I'm expecting a pretty serve-orientated match, with Hurkacz holding 86% on hard court in the last 12 months and Tsitsipas higher at almost 92%."
Bublik covers handicap in tight loss to Sinner
Alexander Bublik covered the game handicap in his match against Jannik Sinner, losing 6-7 4-6 to get past the +3.5 game line, and yet again we saw a Sinner tiebreak win. His record in breakers is incredible across the last 12 months and in my view, is completely unsustainable. However, Sinner is at the top of the variance rollercoaster right now!
We also saw a shock with Roberto Bautista-Agut eliminating tournament favourite Daniil Medvedev in straight sets and this has had implications on the outright market. The Spaniard is now into 4.77/2 third favourite, marginally ahead of Sinner at 4.94/1. Andrey Rublev is now outright favourite at 3.259/4, with Stefanos Tsitsipas slightly further back from the Russian at 3.7511/4. Hubert Hurkacz and Sebastian Korda, today's outsiders, are the long-shots for the trophy at just shy of 40.039/1.
Tsitsipas favourite for likely serve-orientated clash
Today's action gets underway at 18:00 UK time with Stefanos Tsitsipas a 1.232/9 favourite to progress to the semi-finals against Hubert Hurkacz. This looks very slightly short but broadly correct to me, with Tsitsipas now showing data improvement, and it's also a similar price to Tsitsipas against Hurkacz indoors in Rotterdam at the start of March.
The duo have met six times since the start of 2019, with Tsitsipas winning five, although it's fair to note that for the first two meetings, Hurkacz was ranked outside the top 50. Even in slowish conditions, I'm expecting a pretty serve-orientated match, with Hurkacz holding 86% on hard court in the last 12 months and Tsitsipas higher at almost 92%. Tsitsipas has improved his return data markedly since the tour resumed, now breaking almost 25% on the surface - a real change and a necessary one if he is to challenge regularly in the latter stages of Grand Slams.
Across their previous meetings, even Hurkacz has held 80% of the time despite being 1-5 down to Tsitsipas, and again this adds weight to my assertion that the match should be serve-orientated. I'd be surprised if sets were determined by more than one break of serve here.
Rublev strong favourite to end Korda's tournament
Moving on to the final match of the round, tournament favourite Andrey Rublev is 1.261/4 to get the win over Sebastian Korda, and again, this doesn't look far out. My model had Rublev at 1.331/3. The match should be more return-orientated - both players have broken opponents over 25% in main tour hard court matches in the last 12 months.
Rublev, at this point in time, has much better service numbers - he's won almost 7% more service points than Korda in hard court matches during this time period - and this is where the ability differential between the duo exists.
Korda has made huge strides in recent months and looks like a player of real potential. However, Rublev is just that little bit further along the curve right now and I suspect Korda is going to have to serve extremely well to cause a shock tonight. Having said that, I also suspect we are going to see plenty more meetings between the two players in the coming years - potentially also regularly in the latter stages of big tournaments.
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