Rogers Cup Day Three: Opposing Auger-Aliassime again the target

spanish Tennis Player Rafa Nadal
Rafa Nadal starts his campaign against Benoit Paire today...
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It's second round action at The Rogers Cup tonight, with some superb match-ups in the 14 matches on the schedule. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, returns with his thoughts...

"Modellers will often state that if a player is good or bad value in a previous round, that condition will manifest itself again in future rounds, and I'm taking this approach today with Auger-Aliassime again."

Pouille fails to take his chances in defeat

We've endured a difficult start to the tournament with several defeats across the opening two days, and Lucas Pouille failed to take his chances against Felix Auger-Aliassime yesterday.

Both players generated six break point chances, but Pouille only converted one to his opponent's three. With so many question marks around player fitness and form in round one, I'm pleased to get that particular phase of the event out of the way and move onto round two.

Cilic continues dominance over Coric

On a positive front, one of our outright picks, Marin Cilic, got through a tricky opener against Borna Coric, and improved his dominant head to head record over his younger countryman to 7-0, and the Croat faces either Diego Schwartzman or Sam Querrey in round three - the market has priced tonight's Schwartzman v Querrey match as very even, although my model slightly found for the American.

Auger-Aliassime again looks over-rated for Medvedev clash

Modellers will often state that if a player is good or bad value in a previous round, that condition will manifest itself again in future rounds, and I'm taking this approach today with Auger-Aliassime again, happy to oppose the Canadian, who looks grossly over-rated at [2.30] against a very competent hard courter in the shape of Daniil Medvedev.

The Russian 22-year old Medvedev is a promising player himself, although his career has stagnated a little over the last year or so. However, it's worth noting in the bigger events on the calendar - Masters and Slams - he's had some very tough draws in early rounds this year and this has naturally constrained his ranking improvement.

It's fair to suggest that Auger-Aliassime doesn't fall into the 'tough draw' category today, and I'm very surprised at the [1.72] line about Medvedev, given that he's got a pretty solid track record on hard court, with a title already in Sydney this season. If the match was on clay, my thoughts would be markedly different, but it's not...

Thiem looks under-rated against Tsitsipas in pick-em match

Speaking of clay courters who are worse on hard courts, Dominic Thiem is surprisingly just a very marginal [1.98] favourite against the Greek talent, Stefanos Tsitsipas. While I've frequently made the point that Thiem's scheduling leaves him open to accumulated fatigue during the latter stages of the season, and that he's not nearly as good away from clay, his hard court data is still quite a bit better than Tstisipas, and this is another price I'm surprised about even with some fitness concerns over the Austrian.

Ivashka could spring a surprise against Harrison

Other players who look a little over-rated by the market include Karen Khachanov, at [1.85] against Pablo Carreno-Busta, and Ryan Harrison at [1.50]. The American journeyman might well be tested by the rapidly improving Ilya Ivashka, who isn't far from breaking the top 100 for the first time.

It will be interesting to see if Stan Wawrinka can back up yesterday's win over Nick Kyrgios as he faces Marton Fucsovics. The Swiss player is still not nearly close to his best level, however, and might well find the Hungarian a tough opponent. The market, and my model, is not convinced that it will be a straightforward match-up for Wawrinka.

Nadal and Djokovic among the big names in action

Finally, Rafa Nadal starts his campaign against Benoit Paire, and I'd be very surprised if the enigmatic Frenchman posed a consistent threat - certainly Nadal should have some joy on the Paire serve - while Novak Djokovic is also among the big names in action.

The Serb faced a late change of opponent yesterday with Hyeon Chung pulling out, and he despatched lucky-loser Mirza Basic in straight sets instead, although the nature of the win was far from dominant. Today, the Wimbledon champion faces local wild-card Peter Polansky, and in truth, he couldn't have wished for an easier opening two matches, as it has transpired.


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