The second round at the US Open commences on Wednesday evening, and returning to preview the action is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...
"This year on the main tour, Evans has around a 5% edge on hard court when looking at combined service/return points won percentages (103% to 98%), so I'm baffled as to why Pouille is a solid-looking market favourite here."
Paire surprisingly eases to straight sets win
Brayden Schnur unfortunately couldn't provide us with a day two winner as the Canadian went down in straight sets to Benoit Paire, and in all honesty, it was difficult to suggest he deserved anything better having created just a solitary break point in the match.
The Frenchman's strong display was something of a surprise given his reputation (and data) suggesting he's one of the most inconsistent players on the tour, plus potential fatigue from Winston Salem. We roll on to round two, which is something a number of high profile players on the end of shock results yesterday cannot do - with a number of surprises in particular in quarter three, which now looks wide open. More on that tomorrow, when the bottom half of the draw returns to action.
Evans looking decent value against Pouille
Today's second round matches are the 16 scheduled in the top half of the draw and there's not a ton of value spots, although there's a few I want to discuss.
Dan Evans has really improved this season and deserves so much credit from fighting back to around the top 50 after losing his ranking following a ban, and the Englishman faces Lucas Pouille today.
I'm rather surprised that Evans is underdog here - my numbers make him a slight favourite - and the [2.40] market price about him looks pretty decent. Pouille tends to do his best work in quicker conditions and this year on the main tour, Evans has around a 5% edge on hard court when looking at combined service/return points won percentages (103% to 98%), so I'm baffled as to why Pouille is a solid-looking market favourite here.
Several potential reasons for Pouille market support
One reason for this could be a ranking discrepancy - Pouille is a higher-profile player and his random run to the semi-finals at the Australian Open this year has helped him get a ranking around 30 spots higher than Evans - but there's probably also some recency bias after Pouille got to the quarter-finals (and took Novak Djokovic to a tiebreak in that match) in Cincinnati several weeks ago.
However, conditions in Cincinnati are generally much quicker than those expected in New York in the coming fortnight - again we see Pouille doing well in those quicker conditions - and these slower courts in New York should suit Evans much more than Pouille tonight. Evans as an underdog is our pick.
Nishioka should have too much for Lopez
In other matches which my model indicated to have some slight value, Yoshihito Nishioka has been playing to a high level of late and looks fairly attractively priced at [1.47] against Feliciano Lopez, assuming the improving Japanese player is now fully 100% after a bout of food poisoning unfortunately derailed his run in Cincinnati several weeks ago.
The Spanish veteran, Lopez, turns 38 years of age in several weeks, and his numbers this year suggest he's turning into even more of a big-server profile. He's also another player who prefers conditions to be a little quicker than he is likely to find here.
Majchrzak could oust Cuevas
I also think the lucky loser, Kamil Majchrzak, might have a decent opportunity of a third round spot as he takes on Pablo Cuevas. The Pole is at a career best 94 in the world and is a player on a nice upward curve, while Cuevas isn't the force of old and was never particularly strong on hard courts in the first place. Majchrzak is available at [2.48], which based on lower level numbers (adjusted for opponent quality) looks a touch on the generous side.
Federer needing to demonstrate improvement after Nagal test
We also see numerous big names in play, with Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Roger Federer all no bigger than [1.08] to get past Juan Ignacio Londero, Hugo Dellien and Damir Dzumhur, respectively.
Both Djokovic and Medvedev should have no difficulty at all dispatching clay-courters with little main tour hard court experience, but Federer, after struggling past Challenger player Sumit Nagal on Monday night, could potentially have issues with a streaky player in Dzumhur, who can sometimes pull out a superb tournament seemingly out of nowhere. Those who have backed the Swiss legend will be hoping for a comfortable victory for Federer.
Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings
Dan's US Open P&L:-
5 Units Staked
7.95 Units Returned
Back Dan Evans at [2.40] to beat Lucas Pouille