The US Open starts in a few hours time, and returning to discuss the day one card, is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...
"Based on a reasonably small sample size of lower level hard court matches, Sinner already looks good enough to run at just over 100% combined hold/break on the surface on the main tour, and he's evidently going to be a player of ridiculously high potential in the future."
Top half of the draw on day one
In the men's singles today, we have action from the top half of the draw, and there's a full 32 matches on a rather packed card - in addition to the 32 women's matches which I've previewed separately.
As usual, the opening round is full of trappy matches, with player fitness often extremely questionable, but there are a few matches which look worthy of discussion, and I'll start with some underdogs of potential value.
Tipsarevic capable of one last win at the US Open
Last week, Janko Tipsarevic announced that he will retire at the end of the season, and in truth, it's a little surprising that he lasted this long! However, his numbers this season aren't an absolute disaster and I'm surprised the markets have made him as big as [2.62] against the limited American, Denis Kudla. Across the last two years on hard court, Kudla is running at around 93% combined hold/break percentage, so it is difficult to justify his [1.60] market price, even against a player who is winding down his career.
Another player who perhaps isn't at his best these days is Philipp Kohlschreiber, but the German veteran isn't posting disastrous medium-term numbers still, if we disregard the seven defeats in his last nine - mostly played on clay or grass. He is a [3.05] underdog against Lucas Pouille today, and I'm surprised to see that line - Frenchman Pouille is an inconsistent type himself who tends to do his best work in quicker conditions than he's likely to find in New York across the next couple of weeks.
Eubanks with more than a puncher's chance against Garin
We can also say similar for Andreas Seppi, against another inconsistent type in Grigor Dimitrov, who hasn't shown a high level of late, and again, probably prefers quicker conditions. In addition, despite having a rather limited return game, American wild-card Christopher Eubanks has more than a puncher's chance at [3.50] as he faces the Chilean clay-courter and 31st seed, Christian Garin, whose numbers on hard courts aren't impressive at all, from a small sample size.
Carreno-Busta with edge over Pella
In a 'pick-em' type match, Pablo Carreno-Busta looks decent value at [1.88] against Guido Pella. The anticipated medium-slow court speed should be to the liking of both players, in all likelihood, and with PCB showing a decent enough level in Cincinnati and Winston Salem across the last couple of weeks, and having better short-term, medium-term and long-term hard court data, he looks a fair shout in a match which the market is finding it tough to split two players.
Berdych should have too much for Brooksby
Tomas Berdych is an interesting player to assess as well, with the market being extremely defensive of his chances even though he's chalked up as a [1.33] heavy favourite. Berdych's level last week in Winston-Salem wasn't terrible at all, beating the aforementioned Seppi and losing in three sets after winning the first of the three as underdog against Filip Krajinovic.
That level surely should see him ease to victory over the qualifier, Jenson Brooksby, who is barely inside the top 400. While the young American should be credited for making it into the main draw, he benefited from a pretty kind draw in those qualifiers, and he's never even made it past the last 16 in a Challenger event at the time of writing.
Based on adjustments made for quality of opposition, Brooksby's numbers from Challengers and qualifiers suggest that he would be running at just below 80% combined hold/break on the main tour, and given this, it would be a huge stretch to beat a former top 10 regular who should be pretty motivated in what could easily be his last Grand Slam tournament of a strong career.
Berdych -5.5 games should settle at around the [1.95] mark on the Exchange and with such a disparity in current quality, I'd be surprised if this didn't cover.
Sinner capable of testing Wawrinka
In other matches, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are overwhelming favourites against Roberto Carballes Baena and Sumit Nagal, respectively, while Stan Wawrinka could struggle more at [1.23] as he faces the young Italian phenomenon, Jannik Sinner. Based on a reasonably small sample size of lower level hard court matches, Sinner already looks good enough to run at just over 100% combined hold/break on the surface on the main tour, and he's evidently going to be a player of ridiculously high potential in the future.
Whether this is good enough to beat even the declining current version of Wawrinka today is another matter though, but it wouldn't surprise me at all. Sinner +2.5 sets is around [1.75] at general market prices, and I think this is a pretty decent spot. If you can get matched around that price on the 'Sinner To Win A Set?' Exchange market, I think this would be value.
Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings
Back Tomas Berdych -5.5 games at around [1.95] to beat Jenson Brooksby
Back Jannik Sinner to win a set/+2.5 sets to beat Stan Wawrinka if you can get around [1.75]