Australian Open Men's Singles Day Three: Kohlschreiber can compete against Tsitsipas

We have second round action in the men's singles on day three of the Australian Open, and returning to give his thoughts on the schedule is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...

Thompson capable of surprising Fognini

There's 16 matches on Wednesday's card in Australia and while we have had a tough start to our men's campaign, we did manage to pick up two underdog winners in the women's to get us going. I've managed to find a few matches which I think are worthy of some discussion from a pre-match value point of view, and the first match features Jordan Thompson and Fabio Fognini.
The Italian, Fognini, toughed out a rollercoaster five-setter with Reilly Opelka yesterday and now must take on home player Thompson for a third round spot, with the Australian man having spent 80 minutes less on court after his relatively straightforward win over Alexander Bublik.
I'm a little torn here about the extent to trust the numbers though. On 12 month hard court data, I actually make Thompson a very slight favourite - he's serially under-rated by the market during the last year or so - but he's 2.40 on the Exchange, which is obviously a marked difference from my pricing.
However, I have a slight concern given that overall data on the tournament so far suggests conditions are playing slower than is usually the case - perhaps due to Monday's rain - and if this continues to be the case, it would favour Fognini more. As primarily a return-orientated clay-courter, Fognini will want conditions as slow as possible.

Tsitsipas can be opposed given mediocre return data

With this in mind, I'm going to look at a different option, with Stefanos Tsitsipas very short-looking indeed at 1.18 for his match against the German veteran, Philipp Kohlschreiber. I mentioned on Monday that the Greek talent tends not to win matches by hugely dominant margins, and his return numbers are pretty mediocre in general.
While Tsitsipas got past Salvatore Caruso with the minimum of fuss in his opener, Kohlschreiber will be a far tougher proposition. Even at the age of 36, Kohlschreiber retains solid data and he's started the season well, winning the warm-up Canberra Challenger event on the opening week of the season.

Kohlschreiber starting the season in strong fashion

His level in this was high, defeating stronger opposition than you'd usually expect to find at this level including Steve Johnson and a final win against a player who in my view is the highest potential player outside the top 100, Emil Ruusuvuori. He's also been quoted as saying that his preparation for this season has been very strong and that he's worked very hard to get his fitness back and I'd be extremely surprised if Kohlschreiber couldn't keep this competitive, at the very least.
Given this, it's prudent to look at some handicap options. The Exchange game handicap market is yet to settle in advance of the meeting but considering general market prices, we should get around the 1.80 mark eventually with Kohlschreiber receiving a seven game head start, which is a spot I like.

Several other strong favourites look vulnerable on day three

In other matches, I think Ricardas Berankis could trouble Sam Querrey, who looks too short given his issues with consistency, while Benoit Paire also has potential against Marin Cilic, whose numbers of late are not impressive. Dusan Lajovic is another favourite who looks vulnerable as well, and he'll be another who will probably hope the slow conditions persist - opponent Marc Polmans looks big at 4.10 considering his improvement in recent months.

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