The Shanghai Masters continues on Wednesday, with the remaining 11 second round matches on the schedule. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, returns with his thoughts...
"I've mentioned before that Paire's hard court data has been poor over numerous years, and his 10-10 record this year is from a mediocre 95.8% combined hold/break percentage. He's been below the 100% mark (e.g. he is broken more than he breaks opponents) every year since 2014, and he's frequently over-rated by the market on this surface."
Zhang helps us go three from three for the week
We went three from three in Shanghai this week with Ze Zhang easily covering the game handicap against Daniil Medvedev, and indeed, the home wild card wasn't far from a big shock against last week's Tokyo champion, who as predicted, couldn't produce the level that he exhibited in Japan, after seven matches in eight days, and then travel.
Medvedev faces Roger Federer tomorrow in round two, with the Swiss man taking to the court in his first non-exhibition match since he lost to John Millman in the fourth round of the US Open at the end of August. It will be interesting whether the rust of Federer, or the fatigue of Medvedev, wins the day - the Exchange market has Roger as the [1.29] favourite to proceed to round three.
Seppi with potential to surprise Edmund
As for the remaining matches on the schedule, my model indicated some value in several spots. Firstly, Andreas Seppi looks big at [3.60] against the Brit, Kyle Edmund. Seppi overcame Adrian Mannarino in round one, to snap a run of five defeats in six (with the win coming via retirement) but Edmund is just coming out of his own slump, losing six in ten between Wimbledon and the US Open.
While Edmund reached the semi-final in Beijing last week, he was favourite for all his three victories, and also was a solid favourite for his loss to eventual champion, Nikoloz Basilashvili. In addition, his win over Filip Krajinovic looked straightforward when looking at the 7-5 6-3 scoreline, but both had five break points in the match - Edmund just converted two more than the Serb, so the scoreline didn't quite illustrate the close nature of the match.
Paire consistently mediocre on hard court
However, the match I want to focus on for today's recommendation is Benoit Paire against Alex De Minaur, with the young Australian looking great value as a [1.80] favourite.
I've mentioned before that Paire's hard court data has been poor over numerous years, and his 10-10 record this year is from a mediocre 95.8% combined hold/break percentage. He's been below the 100% mark (e.g. he is broken more than he breaks opponents) every year since 2014, and he's frequently over-rated by the market on this surface.
Furthermore, when you also factor in the mental volatility that Paire provides - contributing to woeful break lead loss numbers - it's tough to make a case for him against an improving player, who has a combined hold/break percentage of 105.1% this year, and who has won 15 of his 24 matches (63%) on hard court in 2018.
Taking De Minaur is Wednesday's recommendation.
Market surprisingly accurate for Khachanov v Tsitsipas
In other matches, the Karen Khachanov v Stefanos Tsitsipas match looks the most serve-orientated, and it has the highest no breaks in first set percentage, according to my model, of tomorrow's schedule.
However, it's not nearly actionable - still below a 40% chance - and I'm quite surprised Khachanov is the [1.70] market favourite. This surprise doesn't stem from my personal assessment of the match (I agree with market pricing) but more towards the market love that Tsitsipas frequently enjoys.
Outright pick Del Potro begins his campaign
As well as Roger Federer making his bow in this year's tournament, we also see Alexander Zverev in action, as he opens his campaign against the aforementioned Basilashvili, while our outright selection, Juan Martin Del Potro, takes a 6-1 head to head lead into his meeting with Richard Gasquet. I've discussed the Frenchman's dire record against top players on numerous occasions previously, and I struggle to see a viable reason to disagree with the [1.36] price on the Argentine here.
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