Following the Davis Cup, the ATP Tour is back in action this week. Dan Weston discusses his thoughts on the three tournaments...
"Medvedev has a superb record in quicker conditions - a medium-paced indoor event comes fairly close to that description - and is running at almost 30% ROI across the 14 quickest venues that I consider to be on tour since January 2016."
Travel concerns over numerous players after Davis Cup
The men's tour has had a week off from main draw action with the Davis Cup taking place around the world over the previous weekend and typically, at this stage of the season, it's always worth discussing those players who are coming off arduous travel schedules from those Davis Cup matches to compete in this week's tour events - even though the format for the Davis Cup has changed a little.
Pedro Sousa must travel from Kazakhstan to Argentina for a rare main draw outing, as the Portuguese clay-courter lines up in Cordoba, while the Chilean duo of Nicolas Jarry and Christian Garin make the trip there from Austria. Realistically, it's going to be difficult to envisage that trio in particular having much chance of reaching the latter stages there in the coming week.
In addition, Andreas Seppi and Matteo Berrettini (India to Bulgaria), Mirza Basic (Australia to Bulgaria), Denis Istomin (Uzbekistan to Bulgaria) and Filip Krajinovic (Uzbekistan to France) all have tough journeys to contend with, and they are also probably ones to swerve this week.
French players with strong record in Montpellier
The indoor season gets underway with two events, one in Montpellier, France and the other in Sofia. In Montpellier, the conditions look pretty medium-paced for an indoor court, with the service points won percentage and service hold percentages at the venue for the last three years being almost identical to surface means for the tour.
French players have performed well in their home event, with six of the eight tournaments held there this decade going to domestic winners and with six Frenchmen also being runner-up, it seems evident that historically, this tournament has brought the best out of their talents.
Pouille top seed in open-looking tournament
Lucas Pouille is the top seed and joint tournament favourite, following his performances at the Australian Open, and the Frenchman does have a solid long-term record indoors, albeit one that took a bit of a hit last year. David Goffin shares tournament favourite status with the Sportsbook, at 9/2, and statistically, does boast a little better numbers indoors across the last year than his equally-priced rival.
With several dangerous wild-cards and unseeded players floating in the draw, such as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomas Berdych, the tournament looks pretty wide-open, and a difficult event to call. The Sportsbook prices look pretty accurate, with no particular player looking absurdly generously priced from an outright perspective.
Mixed bag of finalists in Sofia
Across Europe in Sofia, there is another medium-paced indoor event taking place with again, the service metrics looking very similar indeed to the ATP indoor average numbers.
The tournament began in 2016, and there have been three different winners - Roberto Bautista-Agut and Grigor Dimitrov took the first two events, before the lower-profile duo of Mirza Basic and Marius Copil competed in a tight three-setter in last year's final. Basic, Copil and Dimitrov do tend to enjoy indoor conditions but Bautista-Agut (and other runners-up Viktor Troicki and David Goffin) are more return-orientated, so there isn't really an abundance of information that can be gleaned from the list of previous finalists.
Improving Medvedev likely to thrive indoors
Assessing the draw, Bautista-Agut, in the second quarter, won't be complaining about his route out of his quarter, with the previously mentioned Seppi the seed in his bracket, as well as several low-level opponents, while Daniil Medvedev might fancy his chances of coming through the bottom half of the draw.
The young Russian talent has improved rapidly in the last six months or so, and is seeded third. The inconsistent trio of Nikoloz Basilashvili, Martin Klizan and Robin Haase lie in wait for Medvedev, as well as last year's winner, Basic, but Medvedev will be a strong favourite against all of this quartet. Medvedev has a superb record in quicker conditions - a medium-paced indoor event comes fairly close to that description - and is running at almost 30% ROI across the 14 quickest venues that I consider to be on tour since January 2016.
If you can get around 7.50 or greater on Medvedev - he's best priced at 8.00 in the general market - on the Exchange, that would look to be as good a position as any in this event
Inconsistent Fognini favourite in Cordoba
Over in South America, the first clay event of 2019 takes place in Cordoba and this is the first edition of the tournament with it replacing the high-altitude event in Quito. I'll miss Quito, and its unique dynamics, from the tour, although probably not as much as Victor Estrella, who was virtually unbeatable there.
I have little alternative to considering that Cordoba will probably play like a standard red clay court until proven otherwise, and this probably will favour those players who are more return-orientated in the field.
Fabio Fognini is the top seed, but has quite an inconsistent record in these clay tournaments in South America (11-7 since January 2016) although he did fare better last year, reaching the semi-final in Rio de Janeiro before backing that up by taking the title in Sao Paulo. He'll have some points to defend in the next few weeks, but has a decent enough draw with Aljaz Bedene and Pablo Cuevas looking his main threats in the first quarter.
Diego Schwartzman also has a fairly kind draw in quarter two, facing a qualifier or wild card Seyboth Wild in his first match after an opening round bye and Guido Pella looks the diminutive Argentine's main threat in this bracket.
Looking further down the draw sheet, the seeds again have it fairly pleasant, with Pablo Carreno-Busta looking like a strong favourite against any player in quarter three, while Marco Cecchinato also won't mind quarter four - the winner of the opening round match between home players Leonardo Mayer and Federico Delbonis looks his most likely quarter-final opponent.
Given that the conditions here in Cordoba are unknown, and the top three in the market look accurately priced, then perhaps it's best to focus on other opportunities in the not to distant future.
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Back Daniil Medvedev at prices of [7.50] or above