It's semi-final day at the Paris Masters and after faith in Roger Federer paid off yesterday, our tennis columnist Dan Weston wonders how competitive he might be against Novak Djokovic...
"Looking at indoor hard in isolation, Federer is an incredible 21-1 in main tour events in the last 12 months, holding 89.9% and breaking 31.9% (combined 121.8%) and the quicker pace of indoor events certainly benefits the Swiss legend."
Federer recommendation yields Friday's profits
Yesterday's action in the French capital certainly went our way, with Roger Federer covering the game handicap against Kei Nishikori to give us another winner, while my suspicion that Karen Khachanov was generously priced against Alexander Zverev also proved accurate, with the German choosing yesterday to give one of his worst displays in recent memory.
Sock elimination sees ranking plummet
We also saw the exit of Jack Sock, with Dominic Thiem ending the American's chances of defending his title. He managed to defend 180 points of the 1,400 he had up for grabs both here and at the Tour Finals in London, placing his new ranking point total at a mere 540, which will place him at around the 110 mark when the new rankings are published. The Challenger Tour and qualifiers beckon.
Khachanov correctly a marginal favourite over Thiem
Thiem's victory puts him in rare territory for the Austrian - the latter stages of an indoor tournament post-US Open. Yes, he also did in St Petersburg, but that was a 250 level event played in slower conditions, to his liking. Today he faces Karen Khachanov, whose recent improvement has been demonstrated by an excellent week in Paris, and in fact, it's the young Russian who is the marginal 1.9620/21 favourite.
I make this price pretty accurate - across the last 12 months on hard/indoor hard, Khachanov does have very slightly better stats, just shy of the 110% combined hold/break mark, and it wouldn't be a surprise at all if he made his first Masters 1000 final.
Whoever wins the Thiem v Khachanov clash will be an underdog in the final, with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic facing off in the other semi-final, which is second on the schedule.
Federer indoor level makes him generously priced again
Djokovic is the 1.412/5 favourite, and I make this pretty short. Statistically, there's not a great deal between them across hard/indoor hard in the last 12 months, with Federer having better service data while Djokovic has a nice edge on return.
Looking at indoor hard in isolation, Federer is an incredible 21-1 in main tour events in the last 12 months, holding 89.9% and breaking 31.9% (combined 121.8%) and the quicker pace of indoor events certainly benefits the Swiss legend.
With this in mind, I'm surprised at Federer being offered as big as 3.4012/5 on the Exchange. Yes, Djokovic has won seven of their last nine meetings, but only one has been since the Australian Open in January 2016, so it's difficult to give the recent head-to-head an abundance of credence.
I do feel Djokovic should be favourite, but even so, I like this price on Federer and he's our recommendation this afternoon.
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Back Roger Federer at 3.4012/5 to beat Novak Djokovic