It's quarter-final day at the Rogers Cup, and returning to preview the four matches on tonight's schedule is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...
"The Dutchman has had an excellent year and is now on the verge of a career-high ranking, needing to gain six places to usurp his previous best of 33, a mark recorded in 2012."
Tsitsipas ousts Djokovic in Rogers Cup shock
There was a major shock last night in Toronto with Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic dumped out of the event by the Greek youngster, Stefanos Tsitsipas. In reality, it was a deserved victory for Tsitsipas, who faced just two break point chances on his serve, while creating ten on Djokovic's, and his hard court data is now improving towards a level where he is at on clay.
Today Tsitsipas faces Alexander Zverev, and the German, Zverev, one of our outright picks, is [1.31] to make the semi-finals. My model agreed with this line, and despite Tsitsipas' improvement, it would still be a surprise to see Zverev lose what I anticipate to be a rather serve-orientated match.
Head to head with little relevance for Dimitrov match
Another rather serve-orientated match on the schedule is Grigor Dimitrov versus Kevin Anderson, although with a first-set tiebreak chance just over 30%, this figure isn't nearly high enough to warrant further investigation into the 7-6 to either player markets.
Anderson is [1.71] to get the win here, but he'll have to reverse history to some extent, with Dimitrov leading their head to head meetings 6-2, including the last five, in a run going back to June 2012. However, it's probably fair to suggest that Anderson has improved to a decent extent since the majority of these - an assumption that would be extremely questionable when looking at Dimitrov.
Interestingly, in these head to head matches, there hasn't been a great deal to split the duo, with Dimitrov holding 88.9% and breaking 15.9% (combined 104.8%) in the main tour head to head match-ups and I'd expect there to be a much bigger gap between the two players with a relatively dominant record.
This would suggest that Dimitrov has nicked a lot of tight sets and matches in their previous meetings, and in truth, it's difficult to apply that much relevance to these previous meetings. I make the lines about right here.
Haase can match last year's Rogers Cup run
I do, however, feel that there is some slight value on Robin Haase at [2.72] against Karen Khachanov. The Dutchman has had a solid year and is now on the verge of a career-high ranking, needing to gain six places to usurp his previous best of 33, a mark recorded in 2012.
On hard courts this year, Haase actually has better data from a hold/break perspective, but he's over-performed on break points on both serve and return, so enthusiasm from that point of view must be dampened.
However, even looking at a serve and return points won angle, it is evident that there really isn't much to split the duo, and taking the underdog, Haase, here to continue his good run in Canadian Masters (he lost a tight match in the semi-finals to Roger Federer last year) looks a solid play for a small stake.
Cilic faces tough Nadal test
Finally, Rafa Nadal takes on our other outright pick, Marin Cilic, and is a [1.40] favourite to get the win. At the start of the tournament, I'd have priced Nadal more conservatively, but he seems to be at a decent level here, although I was rather surprised Stan Wawrinka was able to challenge him so strongly in a very tight two sets last night, with Nadal winning just 53% of points during the match - a pretty low figure for a straight-sets victory.
In truth, my model agreed with this price, and it will be interesting to see if Cilic - a considerable upgrade on the 2018 Wawrinka - can push Nadal even more than occurred last night.
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