Monte Carlo Masters Day Two: Underdog Sousa can defeat clay-hating Medvedev

Joao Sousa is capable of an underdog win today...
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It's day two of the Monte Carlo Masters, with the event getting properly started after several matches yesterday. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, discusses today's schedule, which is available to view on Betfair Live Video...

"From 2016 onwards, Medvevev is running at around 30% ROI for matches he's played at venues I deem to be fast, while virtually the same as a negative ROI for matches he's played at venues I deem to be slow."

Big names still waiting to start their campaigns

After yesterday's low-profile start to a high-profile tournament, we have 15 matches in store on day two, with all being first round clashes. The top eight seeds - Nadal, Djokovic, et al - have a first round bye, ensuring they don't begin their campaigns until tomorrow at the earliest.

Medvedev still with much to prove on clay

However, there are still some pretty strong players in action today and the field quality at one of the biggest tournaments of the season is excellent. One of these players who has massively improved to a point where he's just outside the top 10 is Daniil Medvedev, and the Russian is a [1.58] favourite to get past Joao Sousa today.

There's one problem with this price. Medvedev, in his relatively short career, has been utterly dreadful on clay. In the last 12 months he's 1-5 on the dirt, and even coming through the Challenger Tour when younger, he barely made an effort to play on clay - with unimpressive results also.

Slow conditions unlikely to suit the Russian

We also have to consider that this tournament tends to witness very slow conditions, and Medvedev has a gigantic bias towards quick conditions based on my historical data. From 2016 onwards, Medvevev is running at around 30% ROI for matches he's played at venues I deem to be fast, while virtually the same as a negative ROI for matches he's played at venues I deem to be slow.

Of course, Medvedev has taken giant strides since his last clay match last season, but there really is little in the way of evidence that he'll be able to transfer such improvement to slow clay here today. Against a competent opponent in Sousa, the Portuguese man looks great value at [2.70] to get the win here.

Kukushkin and Klizan interesting underdogs

Another puzzling line is Jeremy Chardy at [1.55] against Mikhail Kukushkin, with both players exhibiting quite similar clay data across the last year or so, while Martin Klizan - if fit - should be able to give Federico Delbonis, whose results don't always reflect his ability in these type of conditions, a decent match despite being a [3.20] underdog.

Out of form Fognini evens against Rublev

It's interesting to see Fabio Fognini, who has been in poor touch in recent months, at [2.00] against the qualifier, Andrey Rublev. Since winning ATP Umag in 2017, the young Russian hasn't achieved a great deal on clay and this line on Fognini in slow clay would have been absurd this time last year - it's a mark of how bad he's been recently that this price is available (he was around [4.00] against Fognini en route to that Umag title].

I anticipated that the markets might be a little more pro Radu Albot, after a solid run of 'form' on hard court, and that Aljaz Bedene could have been some value in conditions likely to suit, but I'm surprised to see that things are accurately priced here. Bedene is [1.47] to get the win in one of the later matches this afternoon.

Catarina unlikely to justify wild card

We also see the likes of David Goffin, Denis Shapovalov and Roberto Bautista-Agut in action on day two, while there's also the traditional Monegasque wild card, in the shape of Lucas Catarina. The local looks completely out of his depth here and it's unsurprising to see Jaume Munar chalked up as a [1.06] shoo-in here. I can remember in past years that local wild card Benjamin Balleret gave a decent account of himself in several matches here, even taking a set from Florian Mayer despite being a massive underdog, but it would be a shock if Catarina managed the same today against a much improved opponent.


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