French Open Men's Singles Day Seven: Tiebreaks again likely for an Isner match

American Tennis Player John Isner
John Isner is a tiebreak machine...
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Saturday's matches at the French Open see the conclusion of the third round, and with players fighting to get towards the business end of the event, our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, returns...

"These simple mathematical discrepancies in the first set tiebreak market have served us well in the past, and we go with that again here with Isner and Herbert."

Djokovic and Zverev come through scares on day six

We saw some superb tennis on Friday, with both Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev tested by less illustrious opposition. Djokovic faced Roberto Bautista-Agut, and while the 3-1 scoreline and 6-2 fourth set looks like he won pretty comfortably, he was up against it, particularly in the second and third set, and was 1-1 and a break down on two occasions.

Djokovic's struggles, however, were nothing compared to Zverev's. The German - tournament second favourite, no less - scraped past Dusan Lajovic on Wednesday, and did the same against Damir Dzumhur, coming from 2-1 down and a break down twice, and saving a match point in the final set at *4-5. Wasting so much energy on these early round wins is certainly not a positive for Zverev, although my data makes him look like one of the fitter players on tour.

Pouille in big trouble in interrupted match

Today in Paris, we also see the conclusion of two of yesterday's matches, as well as the remaining eight third round matches. In those overnight interruptions, Lucas Pouille is in big trouble, 0-2 down to Karen Khachanov, while David Goffin has a break lead in set three, after splitting the first two sets with Gael Monfils.

Gasquet likely to continue struggle against elite opposition

The matches which are remaining are also of interest. First of all - the King of Clay.

Rafa Nadal is just [1.03] against Richard Gasquet, and many of you are likely to think that this is too short. However, it's worth pointing out that Nadal has won 15 of their 16 meetings, and Gasquet has an utterly horrific record against elite players. In short, we've seen this type of match-up with Gasquet many times before, and I'd be amazed if Gasquet was able to even push Nadal considerably today.

Isner and Herbert likely to struggle to break each other's serve

Max Marterer, Marin Cilic, Kevin Anderson, Juan Martin Del Potro and John Isner are all heavy favourites to win today, and only really Isner looks accurately priced, as he takes on the home player, Pierre-Hugues Herbert - the others look a touch short.

Herbert's limitations and strengths are clear. He has a good serve but a very mediocre return game, and unsurprisingly, projected hold percentages are in the high 90%s here.

The Sportsbook is taking a chance on the first set tiebreak (7-6 to either player 1st set score) at 11/10. It's not as much of an almighty rick as when Isner played Horacio Zeballos in the previous round, when it was 17/10, but this is still generous, with my model pricing it at [1.82].

These simple mathematical discrepancies in the first set tiebreak market have served us well in the past, and we go with that again here with Isner and Herbert.

Zopp capable of giving Marterer a tough match

Of the heavy favourites who look short, Del Potro faces a competent, but a bit out of form Albert Ramos, and on his best form, the Spaniard, Ramos, is more than capable of giving Del Potro a big test.

As for Marterer, I mentioned previously that he was a player of high potential and the market has taken this on board against the Estonian, Jurgen Zopp. This stage really is rare territory for Zopp, who plays most of his tennis on the Challenger Tour, but looking at Zopp's clay data, it's pretty decent - albeit at a lower level - and it wouldn't be a surprise at all if he didn't give the German youngster all his own way today.

Anderson looking short to get past Mischa

Kevin Anderson takes on the lesser Zverev brother, Mischa, today, with the South African a [1.16] favourite to progress. Again, this looks short. Mischa has had an awful year, but he's not that bad on clay, and neither is Anderson that good - I feel that this is a bit of a 'name' price.

Johnson can test inconsistent Cilic

Rounding off this aforementioned quintet is Marin Cilic, who faces Steve Johnson. Cilic is [1.24] to get past the American, but perhaps again this is a name price - Johnson is more than competent on clay, and has a great record over the last couple of years, although often on American clay. Cilic hasn't had a superb clay season so far, and I'm surprised to see him this short.

Edmund can continue British interest with win over Fognini

In other matches, Borna Coric looks accurately priced as a marginal favourite over Diego Schwartzman, while finally, I like the look of Kyle Edmund in what is a 'pick-em' match against Fabio Fognini. Certainly, the Italian is a more renowned clay courter, but Edmund has really improved his clay game in the last year or so, and statistically has an edge over Fognini using clay data from the last 12 months.


Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings

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