It's third round day at the Rome Masters with eight matches on the schedule in the Italian capital. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, returns to check out the value...
"While being taken to three sets by the clay-hating Ryan Harrison yesterday, in a rain-interrupted match, isn't a positive at all for Cilic, it's worth noting that he only faced a single break point on his serve, while creating nine on the American's serve, converting just three."
Shapovalov scrapes past Haase to set up Nadal clash
Yesterday's selection, the underdog Robin Haase, provided us with our first loss of the week, with the Dutchman succumbing in a two and a half hour epic against Denis Shapovalov. However, I don't see a great deal to dissuade me from my view that the Canadian youngster is over-rated on clay currently, and I'm keen to see what situations develop as the clay season continues.
This match was one of a number of clashes which went the distance yesterday, and so far, the event has been very competitive indeed. However, this may not be the case today, with a number of heavy favourites featuring on the card, and only three favourites are priced at above the [1.50] mark from today's matches.
Outright pick Nishikori favourite to defeat Kohlschreiber
One of these is our outright selection in quarter two, with Kei Nishikori a [1.57] favourite to get past Phillip Kohlschreiber, and set up a probable match-up with Novak Djokovic to see who wins the quarter. Kohlschreiber's data definitely illustrates that clay is his best surface currently, and may not be without a chance at prices, but it's also worth noting that Nishikori's injury-influenced data in the last 12 months is a fair bit below his best level on clay in the past, and he will have plenty of upside if he can recapture previous levels.
The other two favourites are marginally favoured by the market over their opponents, with Juan Martin Del Potro and Pablo Carreno-Busta both around the [1.75] mark to get the better of David Goffin and Aljaz Bedene, respectively. My model broadly agreed with these lines - I made both matches slightly more competitive than these lines, but nothing particularly noteworthy.
Cilic capable of seeing off erratic Paire
The player my model liked is Marin Cilic against Benoit Paire, with the Croat generously priced at [1.49] against the erratic Frenchman. There are probably several reasons as to this price - firstly, the market often tends to respect Paire's flawed genius potential, and in addition, the concern as to whether Cilic is 100% fit.
While being taken to three sets by the clay-hating Ryan Harrison yesterday, in a rain-interrupted match, isn't a positive at all for Cilic, it's worth noting that he only faced a single break point on his serve, while creating nine on the American's serve, converting just three. Looking at this data, it is evident that Cilic was the deserved winner in the match, and a 54% points won percentage in a match which went to a final set tiebreak is extremely high.
The Exchange is going [2.04] on Cilic -3.5 games on the game handicap, and this can be considered for today - those who are patient may even be able to extract several more ticks from this price in the run-up to the match.
Nadal and Djokovic heavy favourites to progress
In other matches, Rafa Nadal is expected to despatch Shapovalov, and is correctly priced at [1.05] to do so, while Novak Djokovic takes a 5-0 head to head lead into his match with Albert Ramos, and the Serb is currently [1.20] to make it through to the quarter-finals.
Edmund capable of exploiting any fatigue from Zverev
It will also be interesting to see how Kyle Edmund fares against Alexander Zverev, who is [1.39] to defeat the Brit, but is surely fatigued following back-to-back tournament wins. Edmund is improving rapidly on clay this season, and is more than capable of exploiting any drop in level from his German next-gen rival.
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