Rogers Cup Day Four: Tough card with all the big names in action
We have eight men's singles matches on day four of the Rogers Cup, as the third round takes place. Back to preview the action is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...
"Finally, Stan Wawrinka has rather stumbled his way into round three and still has given little proof that he is back to anywhere near his best from years gone by. In fact, he's running at a very poor 96.3% combined serve/return points won percentage this week so far, and despite taking 50% of his break point chances, has only broken opponents in 12.5% of return games."
Medvedev nets us a day three winner
After a tough start to the campaign, Wednesday evening's matches went more our way, with Daniil Medvedev netting us a winner from the daily recommendation, while one of our outright picks, Alexander Zverev, made it through to round three to join our other selection, Marin Cilic.
Among other victors on day three were Rafa Nadal, who easily got the better of Benoit Paire, Novak Djokovic, and Stan Wawrinka, who needed two tiebreaks - including an epic final set - to edge Marton Fucsovics, after the Hungarian blitzed Wawrinka in the opening set.
Tiebreak betting no value for Isner match
All the 16 remaining players left in the draw take to the courts today and there's a notable absence of value on the card, unfortunately. In fact, my model didn't indicate enough value on any particular player today, with Karen Khachanov at [2.50] against John Isner the best of a bad bunch, although I'd need in excess of [2.60] to recommend a position.
After their French Open match in 2017, which featured three tiebreaks in four sets, I did even look at the first set tiebreak likelihood, and my model indicated this was around a 43% chance. However, the 10/11 with the Sportsbook about 7-6 to either player in the first set doesn't represent any value, and therefore this route was shut down for me as well.
In fact, it's worth noting that Isner has improved his return game from a data perspective - he's now broken opponents 13.6% on hard court in the last 12 months, which is a marked improvement from the regular single-figure digits he's posted in previous years.
This difference goes a long way towards him being able to nick sets by a single break, as opposed to tiebreaks, and bettors should guard against assuming the big-serving American will default to tiebreaks.
Dimitrov a marginal favourite over Tiafoe
In other matches, it's a mark of the disappointing form of Grigor Dimitrov in 2018, as well as the promise of young American Frances Tiafoe, that the Bulgarian is correctly priced as a marginal [1.76] favourite to win this, and this is the only other match which features a favourite priced much in excess of the [1.50] mark, at the time of writing.
Ivashka unlikely to be outclassed by Anderson
Kevin Anderson looks a little short at [1.34] against Ilya Ivashka, who continued his good recent displays that I discussed yesterday with a win over Ryan Harrison. Having said this, there's not nearly enough value on the Belarussian to take this as a heavy underdog this afternoon.
Denis Shapovalov is [1.44] to delight home support and progress past Robin Haase, who shocked Kei Nishikori on Tuesday, while one of our outright picks, Marin Cilic, is [1.51] to defeat Diego Schwartzman, and this looks about right.
Djokovic and Zverev heavy favourites to progress
The remaining favourites today are all the big names and they are priced as such. Novak Djokovic looks correctly priced at [1.31] to get the better of another promising young player in Stefanos Tsitsipas, while the aforementioned Zverev takes on our hero from yesterday, Daniil Medvedev, in a next-gen match-up. Zverev is [1.17] to reach the quarter-finals.
Wawrinka giving no indication he can threaten Nadal
Finally, Stan Wawrinka has rather stumbled his way into round three and still has given little proof that he is back to anywhere near his best from years gone by. In fact, he's running at a very poor 96.3% combined serve/return points won percentage this week so far, and despite taking 50% of his break point chances, has only broken opponents in 12.5% of return games.
These numbers are not remotely positive and when his disastrous head-to-head record against Rafa Nadal is bought into the equation as well, it's no surprise that the market is keen on the Spaniard at the current [1.13]. Again, my model agreed with this line.
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