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ATP French Open Day 11: Nishikori a vulnerable front-runner against Murray

Andy Murray is likely to pressurise Kei Nishikori's serve today...
Andy Murray is likely to pressurise Kei Nishikori's serve today...
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With rain postponing yesterday's ATP action at Roland Garros, all four quarter-finals are played today. With all available on Betfair Live Video, our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, assesses the value...


"Where I think there is value in this match is taking on Nishikori when he leads the match. He has a low projected hold percentage, according to my model, of exactly 70%, while Murray's break deficit recovery data is of the expected elite level."

Tuesday rain reschedules ATP quarter-finals


Both Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal were thwarted in their plans to make it to the French Open semi-finals yesterday, with rain scuppering any play in the men's side of the draw.

Therefore all four men's quarter-finals take place today, with Djokovic taking on Dominic Thiem - the Serb was recommended at -1.5 games in yesterday's preview - and Nadal facing his countryman, Pablo Carreno-Busta. My detailed thoughts for both of those matches from yesterday can be found here.

Following the conclusion of the WTA quarter-finals, the second batch of ATP quarter-finals will take place, not before 2:30pm UK time, with Andy Murray in action against Kei Nishikori, while Stan Wawrinka takes an 11-2 head-to-head lead into his match versus Marin Cilic.


Murray a heavy favourite to beat frail Nishikori


In fact, the Scotsman, Murray, also takes a dominant head-to-head lead onto court against Nishikori, with the world number one having beaten the Japanese player on eight out of ten occasions, and Murray is a [1.27] heavy favourite on the Exchange to qualify for the semi-finals.

My model differed a little from this, pricing Murray a little bigger at [1.40], and this discrepancy does just about create a touch of value on the frail Nishikori, a player whose body has let him down so often in the past. However, in the best of five Grand Slam format, I'd expect Murray to be physically stronger in the latter stages, although it is worth noting that Nishikori recovered from 2-1 down in sets to get the better of Murray in last year's US Open quarter-final.


Nishikori data makes him a vulnerable front-runner


Where I think there is value in this match is taking on Nishikori when he leads the match. He has a low projected hold percentage, according to my model, of exactly 70%, while Murray's break deficit recovery data is of the expected elite level, generating a vulnerable front-runner profile for the Japanese player.

With Nishikori a [4.6] underdog, he'll need to have a significant lead to be trading close to odds-on, and I'm thinking that opposing him when a set and break up, or when 2-0 or 2-1 in sets and a break up, are the most logical entry points. Despite a tough 2017 so far, Murray has improved in the past ten days in Paris, and won't give this up without a fight, and should Murray break-back in these spots, we can hedge our position for profit.


Wawrinka favourite to continue head-to-head dominance over Cilic


In the other match, Wawrinka has dominated Cilic in their head to head series, and this made a big adjustment to my model pricing. Quite simply, an 11-2 head to head lead, when there isn't a huge ability differential between the two players, is a factor that cannot be ignored.

With this in mind, my model priced Wawrinka identically to the Exchange market, at [1.44], and considering we have Wawrinka to win the quarter as our outright bet on the men's side, we can be content with this as our interest in this particular match, which could well be a long one.


Recommended Bets
Lay Kei Nishikori when a set and break up, or 2-0/2-1 in sets and a break up


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Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings


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