It's men's quarter final day at Wimbledon today, and the main question is whether any of the four heavy favourites can be beaten. Dan Weston looks at the match-ups...
"Given the general dynamic of Bautista-Agut is to beat those worse and lose to those better - he doesn’t quite have the extra gear to test the best - I’d be very surprised if Pella continued his journey to the semi-finals with a win this afternoon."
Shocks unlikely in the men's quarter-finals
Despite there being strong favourites in the women's matches yesterday, we saw an upset with Barbora Strycova ousting Jo Konta, but from a pre-match pricing perspective, a shock in the men's quarter-finals today would be a far greater surprise.
In the four matches today, the biggest priced favourite is Roberto Bautista-Agut, with the Spaniard priced up at [1.21] to get past the surprise package of the men's event, Guido Pella.
Bautista-Agut running at a much higher level than Pella here
My model made these prices about right and that's based on more mid-term grass data than this tournament in isolation. In fact, the tournament in isolation leans even heavier towards Bautista-Agut - he's actually the only player left in the event who hasn't dropped a set and he's spent almost six hours less time on court than his opponent today.
Pella's success here aptly illustrates the variance which can positively affect a player en route to the latter stages of a Grand Slam. We saw it last year at the French Open with Marco Cecchinato, and in Australia in January from Lucas Pouille, and random runs in big tournaments from a player who is unlikely to ever replicate it again aren't out of the ordinary, even in a favourite-dominated men's event.
Incredibly, to get to this stage, Pella is barely running over 100% combined serve/return points won, and some predictableoverperformance at break points on serve obviously is of assistance to the Argentine.
Given the general dynamic of Bautista-Agut is to beat those worse and lose to those better - he doesn't quite have the extra gear to test the best - I'd be very surprised if Pella continued his journey to the semi-finals with a win this afternoon.
Nadal arguably the most vulnerable against Querrey
I also think that the market is pretty accurate in the other three matches, with Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer looking about right as overwhelming favourites. Nadal and Federer in particularly could potentially be a few ticks short but this isn't actionable. If pushed, Nadal could be the most vulnerable of the three big names.
The King of Clay meets Sam Querrey here with Querrey coming off the back of a win in their last meeting, in the final of Acapulco two years ago. In fact, in their five previous meetings, Nadal has only won easily once - Querrey has taken a set off Nadal in four of five clashes. Furthermore, Nadal has only won 36% of return points against the big American and if there's to be a shock today, I think this match looks the most likely.
Nishikori needing general serve improvement to push Federer
Statistically, Kei Nishikori has a strong level on grass but there's a huge worry about him against top level opposition - rather like Bautista-Agut. He did beat Federer last time out at the ATP Finals in London last November, but has only held 73% against him in career matches, and won 60% of service points. That's extremely unlikely to get the job done today against Federer, who has the best combined serve/return points won percentage (122%) of all players left in the draw in their four matches this year at SW19.
Goffin unlikely to particularly test Djokovic
As for Djokovic, I don't think he's shown his best so far in this event but being realistic, he's yet to really be tested here by high level opposition. However, I'm not convinced that David Goffin, who has won a mere 57% of service points against Djokovic in career head to head matches, will be the man to push the world number one either. Djokovic is [1.08] to get the win here, and it's difficult to particularly disagree.
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