All of the remaining 16 men's singles players play in today's fourth round at the Miami Masters, and Dan Weston likes the look of an outsider...
Tiafoe win illustrates fine margins between success and failure
We suffered a tight defeat last night with David Ferrer succumbing in three sets to Frances Tiafoe after taking the first set of the match. There really wasn't a great deal in it between the two players, with both having five break point chances, and Tiafoe winning 51% of the points in the match. These numbers aptly illustrates the fine margins that often dictate the difference between success and failure in professional sport.
Today's action focuses on the eight fourth round matches, with all 16 players left in the tournament fighting for a quarter-final spot, and there are some fascinating match-upsthis afternoon and this evening, with action due to start at 1600 UK time.
Our hero from the tournament so far, Felix Auger-Aliassime, is up first on the schedule, with the Canadian prodigy taking on Nikoloz Basilashvili, who has also improved considerably himself across the last six months or so. My model found it tough to split the duo, and the market also does too, with Auger-Aliassime the very marginal 1.94 favourite.
Isner looking like some value against over-rated Edmund
The other match at 16:00 sees Kyle Edmund face defending champion, John Isner, who is actually a very slight underdog to win, at 2.04. I'm not convinced the market has this right, with Isner having around a 2% edge in combined hold/break data across the last 12 months on hard court.
There's probably a reasonable argument to make that the market is over-rating Edmundhere, perhaps due to his success against Milos Raonic as underdog in the previous round. However, this wasn't peak Raonic, and he looked like a back problem was hampering him, so it would be a mistake to give Edmund a huge amount of credit for this victory over the Canadian.
Tsitsipas again favoured by the market
Another slight value spot that my model indicated was Denis Shapovalov against Stefanos Tsitsipas, in a real Next-Gen battle. Tsitsipas is the favourite, at 1.83, although I priced up Shapovalov as the 1.93 favourite here. Both players have a tendency to be a little over-rated by the market, and this is particularly the case for the Greek, Tsitsipas, and it's not surprising that my model found for Shapovalov here.
Underdog Coric with the statistical edge over Kyrgios
The one huge disparity that I found between model and market today comes in the meeting between two more talents who still should also be on an upward curve from an age perspective. Nick Kyrgios is currently trading at 1.67 on the Exchange against Borna Coric, and I actually make the Croatian player, Coric, the favourite to progress, making him 1.85 to do so.
Looking at 12 month hold/break percentages on hard court, Kyrgios has around a 4% edge on serve, but Coric boasts more than a 9% advantage on return, and these numbers find it difficult to make a case for the volatile Australian to be favourite to progress here.
Having said that, it's probably fair to suggest that Kyrgios' 2019 has been more high-profile than Coric's so far, although I've previously asserted in this column that Kyrgios' title in Acapulco was extremely variance-friendly, and he's probably flattered by it. This season on hard court, Coric still has a better win percentage, and around a 2% combined hold/break percentage edge over Kyrgios, so taking him at an underdog price makes a ton of sense here.
Federer a vulnerable favourite for Medvedev clash
In other matches, Novak Djokovic is a heavy 1.22 favourite to get past Roberto Bautista-Agut, who tends to struggle to find a high enough gear to trouble elite players, while Roger Federer looks a touch vulnerable at a drifting1.36 against the rapidly improving Daniil Medvedev. This is also the case for Kevin Anderson, against another improver in Jordan Thompson, while David Goffin looks accurately priced at 1.60 for his meeting with Frances Tiafoe.