French Open Men's Singles Day 10: Zverev fitness in question prior to Thiem clash
Day 10 of the French Open sees the first two quarter-finals in the men's singles take place, and trying to decode the Alexander Zverev conundrum is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...
"Zverev's opponent today, Dominic Thiem, is usually the one accused of over-playing, and I still don't believe his participation in Lyon in the week before this event - after two clay Masters - was necessary, but Thiem is in the rather unusual position of hoping to exploit the accumulated fatigue of his opponent."
Schwartzman fightback highlights Monday's action
We saw a magnificent fightback from Diego Schwartzman yesterday, with the Argentine fighting back from 1-6 2-6 down (and saving match points) to beat Kevin Anderson and move into the quarter-finals. Incredibly, this was almost replicated by Fabio Fognini, who looked down and out after two sets, only to take his match with Marin Cilic to a decider, which eventually was taken by the Croat.
Rafa Nadal faced no such trouble, although Max Marterer did acquit himself pretty well against the King of Clay, even taking him to a tiebreak, while John Isner was surprisingly outclassed by Juan Martin Del Potro, with no tiebreaks taking place - a real rarity.
Accumulated fatigue a huge worry for Zverev
Schwartzman-esque fightbacks are nothing new for Alexander Zverev, who has come back from 2-1 down in sets in his last three rounds to win deciding sets, and his court time is hugely in excess compared to his other rivals still in the competition.
Zverev's opponent today, Dominic Thiem, is usually the one accused of over-playing, and I still don't believe his participation in Lyon in the week before this event - after two clay Masters - was necessary, but Thiem is in the rather unusual position of hoping to exploit the accumulated fatigue of his opponent.
Little between the two players based on hold/break data
It is the Austrian, Thiem, who is the [1.63] market favourite to make the semi-finals, and this puts us in an interesting quandary. Prior to the event, my data had Zverev as marginally the better player on clay in the last 12 months, enough to make him a [1.80] - [1.90] priced favourite.
However, despite four wins in the last week here in Paris, Zverev's hold/break numbers have taken a hit - tight wins for a top player will do that - and it's now Thiem with the slight edge, particularly on serve.
Having said this, Thiem's statistical edge is paper-thin and certainly not enough to justify a lower market price, so it is utterly evident that the market is factoring in a lack of faith in Zverev's ability to back up three consecutive 3-2 victories and in short, thinking that the German will be absolutely knackered from a fitness perspective.
Such a stance is pretty reasonable in truth, and went along with the adjustments that I made to the bare numbers to find my final model price, so any stance on this match should focus on whether a bettor thinks that Zverev's accumulated fatigue has an impact in this match. If you do, leave this match alone from a pre-match betting point of view, but if you feel that Zverev will be as fresh as a daisy, then Zverev at [2.56] would be a viable consideration.
Djokovic likely to end Cecchinato journey
There are less worries in the second semi-final where Novak Djokovic is a heavy [1.10] favourite to beat the surprise package in the men's draw, Marco Cecchinato.
My model agreed with this line, and in short, I'd be utterly amazed if the former world number one was unable to extinguish the Italian's hopes of making his first Grand Slam semi-final, in what is his first Grand Slam quarter-final.
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