Bigger-priced favourites offer value on day four
Yesterday's action in Cincinnati was disappointing with Tomas Berdych imploding in both the second-set tiebreak and final set, after taking the first in relatively comfortable fashion against Juan Martin Del Potro, and the Argentine advances to a virtual bye tonight against Mitchell Krueger.
Del Potro is among a number of heavy favourites tonight - there are five priced under 1.30- and with these largely looking correctly priced, our focus turns to some of the matches on the schedule which have bigger-priced favourites.
Break point variance creates Dimitrov value
One of these is Grigor Dimitrov, who is 1.61 to get past Feliciano Lopez, and in the case of Dimitrov, market love has turned full circle, with the Bulgarian priced as the second coming of Roger Federer early in the season, and now the market doesn't rate him nearly as highly.
As I mentioned in the Australian Open semi-final preview, Dimitrov at that early stage of the year was running in double digits for over performance on break points (based on serve & return points won expectation) and the mean-reversion that he's experienced was entirely predictable.
In the four matches he's played in the last month, he's double-digit under performing in this metric, which shows the volatility and small margins that players experience, and my reasoned assessment of the Bulgarian is that he's neither the second coming of Federer nor as bad as the market currently thinks, and the truth is somewhere in between.
That in-between assessment made him a touch of value against Lopez, based on my model, and Dimitrov was one of the two players that my model liked on tonight's schedule.
Kyrgios generously priced against Dolgopolov
The other player my model liked is everyone's favourite bad-boy, Nick Kyrgios, who seems very generously priced at 1.68 to get the better of Alexandr Dolgopolov, who lost three matches in a row on clay after reaching the Bastad final, and then qualified and beat Kevin Anderson to get to this stage.
The talented but unpredictable Ukrainian didn't face a break point against Anderson in that first round match, and from the match stats, it looks like he played pretty well. However, that's also the case for Kyrgios in the battle of fitness doubts yesterday against David Goffin, with the Australian winning an impressive 59% of points in the match, and winning 87% on his first serve.
My model made Kyrgios much shorter than the current market line, following the market drift, and while in these cases the market does sometimes 'knows', pre-match market movement is also often completely unfounded, and I'd much prefer to trust the numbers, which have Dolgopolov significantly underperforming on hard courts in the last 12-18 months - he is 3-10 in the last 12 months in main tour matches on the surface - as opposed to other people's opinions.
With Kyrgios you never quite know what you are going to get - his potential level is incredibly high, but his worst is horrific - but that's also the case with Dolgopolov and we could get either a superb match or a comedy of errors.
Lucky loser Tipsarevic with fitness issues in qualifying
In other matches, lucky loser Janko Tipsarevic didn't look at all fit in qualifiers and there are many worse value heavy favourites than David Ferrer - who leads their head to head series 6-1 - at 1.26, while it will be interesting to see how Alexander Zverev fares following two consecutive tournament victories. He faces the promising young American, Frances Tiafoe - another who looks to have variance against him in main tour matches - and it will be fascinating to see how Tiafoe does as well.
Later on in the schedule, tournament favourite Rafa Nadal faces Richard Gasquet, and takes a 14-1 head to head lead into their match - Gasquet is woeful against elite players - while our outright selection, Sam Querrey is 1.59 against the Frenchman, Adrian Mannarino.
Back Nick Kyrgios at 1.68 to beat Alexandr Dolgopolov
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