Shanghai Masters Day Three: Zhang capable of pushing fatigued Medvedev
Tuesday morning is day three of the Shanghai Masters, and after going two from two on Monday, Dan Weston returns to preview the action...
"Having said this, it's been a tough schedule for the Russian youngster, who will have less than a 48 hour turnaround from that Tokyo final before this match in China, and it's worth noting that for some reason, Medvedev also put himself through qualifying in Japan and needed to win seven matches in eight days to win the title."
Fucsovics and Coric give us a winning start in Shanghai
Both Marton Fucsovics and Borna Coric won on Monday to get our week in Shanghai off to a winning start, and I was particularly pleased with the Coric fightback victory over Stan Wawrinka, having copped a fair bit of flak on social media previously regarding my opinion of Wawrinka's current level.
The Swiss man still hasn't won more than three matches at any event since this 'upturn in form' around July this year and is 12-8 in this time period, including three defeats at sub 1.50 prices. This is far from elite level, more bordering on top 30 standard, and I was delighted with this result.
Cecchinato among those causing shocks on day two
In the other matches, there were several shocks, with the hard-court hating Marco Cecchinato toughing out a final set tiebreak win over Gilles Simon, while Milos Raonic and Nick Kyrgios succumbed in three sets to Mackenzie McDonald and Bradley Klahn, respectively.
There aren't any matches with value in the first-set tiebreak market, with the majority not being especially serve-orientated - perhaps there might be a meeting or two in round two on Wednesday which will provide some opportunities instead.
With this in mind, it's a look at the match odds value instead, and there are a few matches which my numbers highlighted.
Carreno-Busta likely to be far from full fitness
Firstly, if full fitness was assumed, Pablo Carreno-Busta shouldn't be [2.38] against qualifier Benoit Paire. But with the Spaniard retiring in set five against Joao Sousa in the second round of the US Open and then getting drubbed by Paire subsequently in the Davis Cup three weeks ago, it's tough to think that Carreno-Busta is in the best possible condition for this meeting. I'm more than happy to move on...
Ramos generously priced against Kukushkin
The other two spots featured value on very mediocre players at this level on this particular surface, with Albert Ramos [2.78] against Mikhail Kukushkin. While I feel that Ramos' level on hard court this year has been woeful - illustrated by a combined hold/break percentage of just 88.4% - Kukushkin's hasn't been much better and I think it's a little ambitious to think that this difference is demonstrated by a wide gap in the market pricing, which makes Kukushkin a solid [1.55] favourite.
Zhang can test fatigued Medvedev
However, I also want to look at home wild card Ze Zhang, who faces Tokyo champion, Daniil Medvedev. This was Medvedev's third title of a successful season (away from clay, at least!) and his current ranking of 22 is a career best and he's starting to realise the potential that I've been discussing for over several years now. Sometimes it takes young players some time to realise potential, and ups and downs are commonplace but a bit like Coric, he's starting to 'get it' now and this improvement is reflected in his current ranking.
Having said this, it's been a tough schedule for the Russian youngster, who will have less than a 48 hour turnaround from that Tokyo final before this match in China. It's worth noting that for some reason, Medvedev also put himself through qualifying in Japan and needed to win seven matches in eight days to win the title.
With potential fatigue, and a prohibitively short [1.13] market price in mind, I feel it's worth opposing Medvedev on the game handicap. We can get 8/11 on Zhang +5.5 games tomorrow and given the reasoning above, that will be Tuesday's recommendation.
Cilic and Djokovic begin their Shanghai campaigns
Other highlights tomorrow include surprise Beijing winner Nikoloz Basilashvili taking on Denis Shapovalov, Marin Cilic's meeting with Nicolas Jarry and the opening of Novak Djokovic's campaign, as he takes an 11-0 head to head lead into his match with Jeremy Chardy. Roger Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro begin their campaigns on Wednesday.
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