As the Shanghai Masters continues, Saturday morning sees the semi-finals take place and back with his thoughts on the action is Dan Weston...
"Federer has a combined 115.7% hold/break percentage on hard court in the last 12 months - standard elite-level data from the Swiss man - but Coric is one of the tour's biggest improvers, boosting his figures to 109.9% in that time period."
Friday's action finding favourites strong
Friday's four favourites triumphed - an outcome which was around a [3.50] shot based on the prices available at the time of yesterday's preview, and I certainly don't see any reason to adapt my point of view that the matches were accurately priced by the market.
Federer again failing to win in straightforward fashion
As predicted, Kevin Anderson failed to cause much of an impact on Novak Djokovic's serve, winning just 14/65 return points (22%) to continue his dire return data against the Serb, while Roger Federer managed to break Kei Nishikori three times in 11 return games to continue his propensity to break the Japanese man more than average.
Interestingly, though, that match did have very close data - Federer had eight break points on return, compared to six for Nishikori - while only winning 52% of points in the match, a very low figure for a straight-set victory. Given his two prior matches both went to three sets, it still shows that Federer hasn't been at his dominant best this week, even in quick conditions which should be to his liking.
Head to head of little relevance for Zverev v Djokovic
Federer takes to the court second on Saturday's schedule, which has a more pleasant feel to it from a start time perspective, with this starting at 1pm UK time, after Alexander Zverev versus Novak Djokovic, which begins at 930am.
For this first match, Djokovic is a solid [1.37] favourite to make the final, and rather surprisingly for two top-five players, they've only had one previous meeting, which Zverev took on the clay in Rome last year without facing a single break point.
Tomorrow's conditions - a rather quick hard court - is somewhat different, and I feel that their one and only head to head clash has zero relevance towards this match-up.
Djokovic with a hard court edge on both serve and return
In the last 12 months on hard court, Djokovic has held serve 2.0% more, doing so 87.5% to 85.5%, and broken opponents 3.5% more, too, with a 29.4% break opponent figure, compared to Zverev's 25.9%, and this data does give him a solid edge for tomorrow.
I do make his market price a touch short, but not hugely so - there are just a few ticks to quibble over - and therefore I can't recommend to take any pre-match position on this.
Coric improvement putting him on the verge of being a top 10 hard courter
Unfortunately, that's also the case for Federer's match with Coric. Again, the favourite looks several ticks short at a similar [1.38] price, but it's not remotely actionable whatsoever.
Federer has a combined 115.7% hold/break percentage on hard court in the last 12 months - standard elite-level data from the Swiss man - but Coric is one of the tour's biggest improvers, boosting his figures to 109.9% in that time period, and further improvement will definitely put him in the top 10 hard courters in the world.
Historical data showing Federer unlikely to win easily
Subjectively considering Federer's issues in winning matches in a straightforward fashion this week, backing Coric +3.5 games would probably be a reasonable idea, particularly as Federer hasn't been superb at covering this line in similarly priced hard court matches in recent years.
If I was forced to recommend a bet tomorrow, this would be it, but naturally it's difficult to advocate a bet which I think is pretty accurately priced, so there are no recommendations for Saturday's semi-finals.
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