Paris Masters Day 1 Tips: Murray to fall short again

Scottish Tennis Player Andy Murray
Andy Murray has tended to come up short in deciding sets...

The opening day of the Paris Masters features 15 matches including Andy Murray Returning to preview the day ahead is Dan Weston...

  • De Minaur to edge Murray

  • Improving Shelton favourite over Davidovich Fokina

  • Keep an eye on Van Assche in the future

Murray to find things tough against De Minaur

While the seeded players don't begin their tournaments until later on this week, there's plenty to discuss on day one of the Paris Masters, as well as big names still featuring on the schedule.

Arguably the biggest is Andy Murray, with the Brit facing a very tough assignment against Alex De Minaur, who still holds an outside chance of qualifying for the season-ending Tour Finals.

Murray doesn't seem to be enjoying tennis right now, having lost five of his last eight and with his wins coming as a strong pre-match favourite against non-top 50 opposition. There's been some bad-tempered outbursts on the way too.

That included his loss to Monday's opponent De Minaur in Beijing recently, where De Minaur was priced up at short of 1.402/5 to record his fifth straight win over the Scottish veteran (career 5-0). However, the Australian is a little bigger-priced today at 1.491/2, which I'm not sure makes a ton of sense given Murray's recent travails.

De Minaur giving up 3.5 games on the handicap is slightly odds-against, and giving up 2.5 games a little shorter than odds on, but I wouldn't be shocked given Murray's recent history to see him edged 2-1 in sets.

Murray has lost his last three deciding sets and has frequently gone the distance in matches this year, struggling to maintain a level throughout a match. Anyone who thinks De Minaur 2-1 looks a realistic prospect can get 4.216/5 on the Betfair Exchange.

Set Betting: Back De Minaur to win 2-1

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Shelton more consistent than Davidovich Fokina

Similarly priced to De Minaur is Ben Shelton, who has recently defied my expectations and reached the latter stages of numerous events.

The big-serving American seems to have a developed a useful habit of just about getting the job done, with his Tokyo title featuring three deciding set wins, and he also picked up several in Shanghai several weeks previously.

This is rather in contrast to Shelton's opponent on Monday, the inconsistent Spaniard, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Capable of a high peak, such as thrashing Alexander Zverev en route to a semi-final in the Toronto Masters in August, but then struggling to string consecutive wins together for periods lasting several months, this is a fascinating match-up and really depends on which version of Davidovich Fokina turns up. The more consistent Shelton is 1.4840/85 to progress.

Wild card Van Assche could delight home crowd

In other matches, Cameron Norrie will be able to give greater insight into his ability to compete in the Davis Cup when he faces the French wild card Alexandre Müller, with his market price showing that there's an expectation for the Brit to make round two.

He will need to stem a run of five defeats in his last six to do so, but Muller was easily beaten by Tommy Paul last week in Vienna and shouldn't prove to be a massive challenge.

I'd also expect Nicolas Jarry to get through at the expense of Alexei Popyrin, with the Chilean big-server likely to be favoured by conditions, while I'm interested to see how home wild card Luca Van Assche performs at 2.166/5 against Laslo Djere. Van Assche looks to have some decent long-term potential, so lets see how he fares against the Serbian clay-courter in round one.

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