Monte Carlo Masters Day Six: Gasquet to cover handicap against Zverev

Spanish Tennis Player Rafa Nadal
Rafa Nadal's level on clay makes him a heavy favourite to defeat Dominic Thiem...
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Friday's schedule at the Monte Carlo Masters today focuses on quarter-final action where three of the four matches look very competitive indeed. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, runs the numbers to find the value...

Kohlschreiber succumbs from a winning position against Dimitrov

For the second day in a row we got pretty unlucky, with Phillip Kohlschreiber losing from a set and break up against Grigor Dimitrov, and the Bulgarian's reward for that fightback is a clash today against David Goffin.

Goffin needs to overturn head-to-head record

In fact, this match-up starts today's schedule, at 10:00 UK time, with the Belgian, Goffin, slightly the favourite at [1.85] to reverse a head-to-head record which sees him having lost seven of the eight matches against Dimitrov.

However, it's worth noting that only one of these meetings was on clay, and in that particular match, both players were ranked outside the top 200, so quite what relevance their last clay meeting has on a match-up today at one of the most glamorous venues on tour, with both players inside the top 10, is justifiably questionable.

Apart from the last two meetings - both on Dimitrov's preferred Indoor Hard court - the head-to-head series has actually been relatively competitive given the overall scoreline, but I do feel that it has to have some influence in today's meeting, albeit with not as much weight as I'd usually give a recent record which was quite so dominant.

With this in mind, this price on Goffin looks fair. He's the better clay-courter, and stats back that up. If you don't believe the head-to-head has any influence, then the price on Goffin could be worth taking.

King of Clay a heavy favourite to defeat Thiem

Following this, we have a fascinating meeting between tournament favourite, Rafa Nadal, and Dominic Thiem, with Nadal having won five of their seven previous meetings - all on clay - so far in their careers.

The King of Clay is [1.18] to make it 6-2, and to move into the semi-finals, which is a line that my model agreed with.

Outright pick Cilic slight value to get past Nishikori

Moving on, our outright selection, Marin Cilic, progressed to the quarter-finals yesterday by way of walkover, with Milos Raonic withdrawing from their meeting in advance, and the Croat is currently priced at [1.80] to defeat Kei Nishikori this afternoon.

My model quite liked this price, making Cilic a [1.62] chance, but with our outright hopes already on him, and Nishikori having demonstrated a high peak level on clay prior to his injury troubles, I want to move on to the final match on the schedule for today's recommendation.

Gasquet can cover handicap against Zverev in tight match

In this, Richard Gasquet faces Alexander Zverev, and the veteran Frenchman is yet to taste victory in a competitive match against the young German, losing all three main tour matches, all played in 2017.

In these, Zverev twice nicked the final set - once on a tiebreak - and also needed a tiebreak victory in his straight sets triumph in Montpellier, last February. While the head-to-head series reads 3-0, it hasn't been like Zverev has schooled Gasquet in their match-ups.

Incidentally, this analysis of their head-to-head runs rather parallel to their careers, in all honesty. Gasquet has flattered to deceive on a regular basis, arguably not making full use of his prodigious talent, and has frequently had issues in tight matches, and against top 10 opposition. Conversely, a large part of Zverev's success so far in his young career has been his ability to win tight matches, often those where he doesn't cover the game handicap.

I mentioned Zverev's issues in covering the game handicap lines previously, and given Gasquet's propensity to mentally check out during pressure situations in such match-ups, this makes more sense as opposed to taking him as an underdog at [2.66] - my model made this much closer - so for today, I like the Frenchman +2.5 games on the game handicap market at [2.00].

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