French Open Day Nine Men's Tips: Schwartzman a value favourite to progress
Following the withdrawal of Roger Federer, there are only three matches on today's French Open schedule as the fourth round concludes. Dan Weston is back to discuss day nine...
Federer withdraws to give Berrettini a bye
Matteo Berrettini received a fourth round walkover after Roger Federer pulled out of the event, and this means that the Italian faces either world number one Novak Djokovic or countryman Lorenzo Musetti in the quarter-finals. If today's match between Djokovic and Musetti is a long one, this could prove very beneficial for Berrettini in terms of having far less accumulated fatigue in the tournament so far.
Musetti an opponent upgrade for Djokovic
However, Djokovic is a heavy favourite at 1.04 to get the better of Musetti, who defeated fellow Italian Marco Cecchinato in a five-set epic on Saturday in a match where he won just two more points. Despite the match going five sets, it didn't last much more than three hours - pretty quick for a five-setter - so in terms of wanting a competitive match, hopefully this won't have particularly negative consequences for Musetti's fitness.
Given that market price, Djokovic is an overwhelming favourite to win, and today's price on the Serb is only marginally bigger than his previous wins this tournament over Ricardas Berankis, Pablo Cuevas and Tennys Sandgren. Musetti is a considerable upgrade over that trio, and it will be fascinating to see how the young Italian fares against the world number one today. It would be great to see him give a good account of himself and really push Djokovic today.
Nadal now 32 sets unbeaten at the French Open
We can say exactly the same for Jannik Sinner who faces Rafa Nadal in yet another match for Nadal on clay where he is a very heavy favourite, this time at 1.08. I think this is slightly short, but not hugely so, and if Sinner was to win a set, he would be the first player to do so against Nadal at the French Open since Dominic Thiem in the 2019 final. Nadal has now won 32 sets in a row at Roland Garros, which accurately illustrates the task ahead of Sinner today and quite why the market is pricing Nadal at this line.
Schwartzman with large ability differential over Struff
With those two matches today featuring players who are overwhelming favourites to make the quarter-finals, the final match to discuss has slightly more competitive market pricing.
The Argentine, Diego Schwartzman, is yet to drop a set in the tournament so far with comfortable wins over Philipp Kohlschreiber, Aljaz Bedene and Yen-Hsun Lu and he is 1.49 to defeat Jan-Lennard Struff today.
I can't help thinking that this price - even as favourite - is generous on Schwartzman, and the market is potentially over-reacting to Struff's underdog wins over Carlos Alcaraz Garfia and in particular, Andrey Rublev. Based on clay data, there's a large ability differential between the two players.
Given this, I quite like the general market line which is just shy of 1.90 on Schwartzman -4.5 games on the game handicap. The Exchange game handicap markets are still forming, but hopefully there will be some greater liquidity in the run-up to the match later.
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