ATP World Tour Finals Day 1 Tips: Medvedev headlines action on opening day

Dan Weston previews the first group games of the ATP World Tour Finals and he believes both match odds markets are priced up accurately...

As the ATP Finals begin today - the first time in Turin - the two matches on today's schedule are from the Red Group, featuring group favourite Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Matteo Berrettini and Hubert Hurkacz. Two will qualify, and meet the top two from the Red Group next weekend in the semi-finals.

Markets expects Hurkacz to move aside for world number two

Daniil Medvedev 1.23 vs Hubert Hurkacz 5.2: In the opening match on the schedule, Medvedev is a heavy favourite to get the better of Hurkacz and get his tournament off to a winning start.

The market lines are very similar to my model price of 1.24 about the Russian, so essentially this discussion is about why I think Medvedev is a strong favourite to progress against an opponent in Hurkacz who has impressed this season in what has been a huge breakthrough year.

Numbers agree with market sentiment

My main thought process simply focuses around the combined service/return points won differential between the duo on hard courts this year , with Medvedev's main edge coming on return. The world number two has won almost 43% of return points this season on hard courts - the best across the entire field - and while Hurkacz can boast a pretty solid serve, Medvedev should be able to exert reasonable pressure on it throughout the match.

Medvedev has also typically got the job done against weaker opposition. His record this year against top 10 opposition is excellent, winning 75% of those encounters, and all the numbers point to him getting the job done here as well.

While Hurkacz has had a great year, reaching the semi-final of Wimbledon plus the Paris Masters, and winning the Miami Masters, it would be a bit of a stretch to think he'll dominate Medvedev here. I make the market about right.

Zverev a solid favourite to defeat Berrettini

Alexander Zverev 1.41 vs Matteo Berrettini 3.35: Zverev has been in excellent form during the second half of 2021, barely losing a match and when doing so, has generally been defeated by either Medvedev or Novak Djokovic - hardly a disgrace there.

Conversely, Berrettini hasn't been playing inspiring tennis since he lost to Djokovic in the final of Wimbledon at the start of July. His best run was to the semi-finals at the US Open, where he again lost to Djokovic, but he didn't particularly impress in that event, dropping sets all over the place against mediocre opposition as the draw opened up. He's skipped most of the indoor season, only featuring in Vienna where he lost a tight quarter-final to Carlos Alcaraz Garfia, so he comes into this event likely to be slightly rusty.

Market again accurate with match pricing

On this basis, I can't disagree with the market again here either. Zverev has better data and better recent results, so looks a pretty solid favourite to open his account with a victory over the Italian here.

As I've said a number of times before, the matches featuring top-ten players generally are well-priced by the market, with player ability levels pretty well known, and that's again the case here. There's not much to quibble about with today's market pricing.

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