Shanghai Masters Day Six: Markets accurate as event reaches the quarter-final stage

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic has had few issues on serve against Kevin Anderson...
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Friday is quarter-final day at the Shanghai Masters, and returning to preview all four matches is our tennis columnist Dan Weston...

"In head to head matches, Anderson has had issues on his serve, holding a mere 74.2% of the time - a woeful figure for a player who fits into the 'big server' dynamic, and his return has caused Djokovic very few issues, with the Serb holding 94.9% across those seven meetings."

Anderson gets the better of Tsitsipas on day five

Yesterday's action in China saw us go one from two, with Kevin Anderson beating Stefanos Tsitsipas, as anticipated, but our 13/8 shot on over 12.5 games in the first set getting defeated by a solitary break, with this over 12.5 game line actually completing in the second set, instead.

However, this was our first recommendation to go down this week, and we're 5-1 so far, so I'm more than happy with how the week has gone for these previews. Unfortunately there is nothing in the way of actionable value tomorrow - my model broadly agrees with all match odds lines - but I'll run through the card anyway.

Zverev with edge on return against Edmund

First up, at 6am UK time, is the Next-Gen clash between Kyle Edmund and Alexander Zverev.

In truth, I've not been overly convinced by either player in the last couple of months, but I do feel that Zverev's status as a [1.41] favourite looks about right. Both players have held just shy of 85% on hard court in the last 12 months, but Zverev has around a 6% edge on return - breaking around 26% to 20% - so it's quite difficult to have much dispute with these prices.

Djokovic with very few historical issues against Anderson

The winner is likely to face Novak Djokovic, who is [1.21] to get past Kevin Anderson in a repeat of the Wimbledon final in July.

That day, Djokovic was similarly priced and had little difficulty in getting past Anderson, whose solitary head to head win was in their first meeting, in Miami, in 2008. Since then, Djokovic has reeled off six straight wins in main tour matches, dropping just two sets via tiebreaks, aptly indicating that Anderson will have to serve lights-out in order to have any chance of causing a shock result.

In head-to-head matches, Anderson has had major issues on his serve, holding a mere 74.2% of the time - a woeful figure for a player who fits into the 'big server' dynamic, and his return has caused Djokovic very few issues, with the Serb holding 94.9% across those seven meetings.

Coric with golden chance to reach second Masters semi-final

Borna Coric has quietly progressed through the field, and is now getting to a level where reaching these stages in major tournaments isn't a surprise. In fact, the Croat has a golden chance to reach his second Masters semi-final this year, as he takes on Matt Ebden.

No doubt, Ebden has improved this year, but he's still running at below 100% combined hold/break percentage on hard court in the last 12 months, while Coric has accelerated towards the 110% mark. The quick conditions will certainly be to the Australian's liking - as he has proven on grass, he loves pacy venues - but I do feel the [1.38] price accurately reflects Coric's chances of progression.

Federer not at his best so far this week

Finally, as we move into tomorrow afternoon, Roger Federer faces Kei Nishikori, with the Swiss legend not entirely convincing so far in Shanghai. The market appears a little defensive, at [1.49], but I think that's about right given two three-set wins over Roberto Bautista-Agut and Daniil Medvedev, and the return to form of Nishikori.

Despite losing to Medvedev in the Tokyo final last week, Nishikori has broken opponents 37.3% in the last fortnight, and after a long wait, he looks like getting somewhere towards his previous best levels, where he could threaten elite players on his day.

Nishikori with problems on serve against Federer

Indeed, Nishikori has been able to trouble Federer on serve historically, in head to head matches - Roger has only held 82.5% of the time, considerably lower than his tour average - but the Japanese man has had difficulty holding serve, doing so just 69.9% in matches against Federer. This is quite symptomatic of his problems against elite players, who tend to be able to expose his serve much more effectively than the majority of the tour.

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Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings

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