The Monte Carlo Masters is now at the quarter-final stage, and with a number of shock results so far, our tennis columnist Dan Weston is looking towards one of yesterday's underdog winners to provide another surprise today...
"Largely this discrepancy was down to my model pricing in Ramos' magnificent, and rapidly improving clay stats, which now stand at 78.4% service holds and 31.1% breaks (combined 109.5%) in the last 12 months, and he is now 29-13 on clay in that time period."
Nadal destroys Zverev as Wawrinka and Murray exit
Yesterday's matches at the Monte Carlo Country Club were, by and large, very dramatic affairs, with Rafa Nadal easily covering the game handicap when destroying young-gun Alexander Zverev, 6-1 6-1, and providing us with another winning recommendation. In our preferred non-round one matches, we are two from two this week, and a hat-trick would be most welcome going into the weekend.
In other matches yesterday, Stan Wawrinka succumbed tamely at the hands of the Uruguayan clay courter, Pablo Cuevas, and Cuevas' reward for this is a quarter-final against Lucas Pouille, who eased past Adrian Mannarino by way of a first-set retirement.
Novak Djokovic continued his progress, although again, the nature of his victory will be scrutinised - again the Serb came through a tight third set to move into the next round. He certainly isn't nearly as dominant as he has been, historically.
Meanwhile, another player that this declining dominance is relevant towards, Andy Murray, was shocked by Albert Ramos, despite being 4-0 up in set three, and trading at 1.02 on the Exchange. It will be interesting to see if this is a temporary blip for Murray, or whether injuries and illness are going to have a more prolonged effect.
Ramos value again to create a further shock
Ramos, following this dramatic victory, today faces Marin Cilic, who ousted Tomas Berdych in straight sets, and it is in this match that I am looking to take advantage of some pre-match value.
The Spaniard, Ramos, on his preferred surface, is currently available at [2.90], and my model made this price extreme value, pricing this around a 50-50 clash.
Largely this discrepancy was down to my model pricing in Ramos' magnificent, and rapidly improving clay stats, which now stand at 78.4% service holds and 31.1% breaks (combined 109.5%) in the last 12 months, and he is now 29-13 on clay in that time period.
Quite simply, these numbers indicate that the Spaniard is top 20 level at least on clay, and even if we factor in a number of entries into 250 level tournaments where opponent quality isn't the strongest, it would take his most ardent critic to question this statement.
Cilic is much less keen on clay, playing a mere seven matches in the last 12 months, and although his stats are solid enough, it is very difficult indeed to make a case for him at a short [1.52] - this match-up should be much closer than these odds suggest.
Given Ramos' magnificent set three record - where he has recovered in excess of 60% of break deficits in the final set - I am quite keen to take an outright position on him as an underdog, as opposed to via any game or set handicap.
Goffin a vulnerable front-runner against Djokovic
In other action, the latter two matches look to have very return-orientated dynamics, with underdogs David Goffin (against Novak Djokovic) and Diego Schwartzman (versus Rafa Nadal) having very low projected hold percentages indeed.
I've read on social media that plenty fancy Goffin to cause a shock at [3.55], but given the metrics that I use to assess, the Belgian looks a very vulnerable front-runner. This is despite Djokovic's drop in level, and the Serb still has the best break deficit recovery data on tour.
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