ATP Montreal Masters Day 7: Serve orientated final in prospect

Roger Federer is a strong favourite to claim another title in 2017...
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Sunday's Montreal Masters final is the anticipated clash between Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev, and our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, runs the numbers to assess whether the German youngster can get the better of the Swiss legend...

"Numerically, I anticipate a tight match, with projected hold percentages very high indeed - Federer's is in excess of 90% - despite the fact that Montreal isn't a particularly pacy venue."

In-form duo Federer and Zverev progress to today's final

Yesterday's two heavy favourites, Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev, made it into this evening's final (scheduled for 9pm UK time), with both recording straight-set victories over Robin Haase and Denis Shapovalov, respectively.

The in-form Zverev - our 12/1 each-way outright selection, which has already cashed in the place bet - has now dropped just two sets in nine consecutive wins in the last fortnight but he's not faced opponents nearly of the calibre of Federer in this run, and this is why the market - fairly correctly - has priced Roger at the current [1.36].

No value in pre-match prices

My model made Federer a little bigger, at [1.41], but the discrepancy isn't particularly noteworthy, and certainly not enough to make Zverev any pre-match value, in his second Masters 1000 level final.

Indeed, Zverev already has a Masters title under his belt, with a surprise straight-set win priced at around [5.00] against Novak Djokovic, in Rome in May, as well as winning five of his last six main tour finals, and it is unlikely that he will be particularly overawed at the prospect of Federer the other side of the net.

Federer's record in Masters finals a mixed bag

Federer's record in Masters finals isn't particularly outstanding, with a 32-22 career record yielding negative return on investment if you blind-backed him, and he's won just five of his last ten, which records double-digit negative ROI at starting prices too.

However, he's won both of his Masters finals in straight sets this year - Indian Wells, against Stan Wawrinka, and Miami, against Rafa Nadal, and as a sub-1.50 favourite in Masters finals, his record is a much improved 8-1 throughout his career.

Tight match with few service breaks in prospect

Numerically, I anticipate a tight match, with projected hold percentages very high indeed - Federer's is in excess of 90% - despite the fact that Montreal isn't a particularly pacy venue. This year on hard courts, Zverev has held serve 89.9%, with Federer doing so 90.4% of the time, while Federer enjoys a bigger edge on return, breaking opponents 26.7% compared to 21.0%.

With this in mind, I don't expect many breaks of serve or break-backs, despite the fact that this duo are two of the best players on tour for break deficit recovery. I don't expect the market will expect the match to be quite as serve-orientated as I do, so in the absence of pre-match value, a trading strategy focused towards strong serving looks appropriate, as it was for Zverev's match last night against Shapovalov.

Therefore, similar to with Zverev yesterday, backing either player at 0-30 or 15-40 down on serve can be considered. Exiting for profit can be considered at 30-30 or deuce, or those with more tolerance for risk can do so if the server manages to hold, with a hedge for a loss if they are broken.

Furthermore, those who backed Zverev each-way as recommended pre-tournament will also have a financial interest on the German talent in this - a 12/1 winner this week will be a superb finish to the first of two consecutive Masters 1000 events, as we move towards Cincinnati next week.

Recommended Bets

Back either player when 0-30 or 15-40 down on serve


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