ATP World Tour Finals Saturday Tips: Semi-final favs not short enough to take on

It's semi-final day at the ATP Tour Finals in Turin, and although Dan Weston believes both favourites are a tad short he doesn't see any value in opposing any of them...

Medvedev and Djokovic favourites in today's semi-finals

In yesterday's critical match for qualification, Casper Ruud picked up a nice underdog winner for us with a fightback win over Andrey Rublev, nicking a final set tiebreak in the process - the third match decided by a final set tiebreak in this tournament already in the 12 group matches.

We talk so often about the fine margins which can dictate the outcomes of top level sport, and I don't think there's a more accurate illustration of that than these tiebreaks.

Ruud faces tough Medvedev test

Daniil Medvedev 1.18 vs Casper Ruud 6.2: One player who knows all about the benefits of winning final set tiebreaks, of course, is Daniil Medvedev. The number two seed won both of his in the group stages against Alexander Zverev and then alternate Jannik Sinner on route to an unbeaten group stage record and now he faces Ruud in the first semi-final on court today.

The duo have met twice before but it's fair to say that even since the last meeting at the end of June, Ruud has markedly improved.

Furthermore, a match-up against Medvedev that day in Mallorca, in a grass warm-up tournament for Wimbledon, should have been a more beneficial match-up for the Russian than Ruud.

For that match on grass though, Medvedev was priced just shy of the 1.25 mark - pretty much where my model is at for today's clash - so with the market prices being a couple of ticks short of this line, Medvedev looks a touch short-priced but there really isn't enough value on this to be considered remotely actionable.

This year on hard courts, Medvedev has won 5% more service points than Ruud, and also has an edge on return, which shows the task that Ruud has in order to cause a shock win this afternoon.

Zverev hoping to repeat Olympics victory

Novak Djokovic 1.41 vs Alexander Zverev 3.4: Tonight in the second semi-final, Novak Djokovic is a strong pre-match favourite to get the better of Alexander Zverev, which again looks to be a broadly correct market line.

Again, you could argue that the favourite is a couple of ticks short, but it's really nothing to quibble about - as is often the case, the market is generally pretty efficient when it comes to pricing up players with well-known ability levels.

After winning two of their first three meetings, Zverev lost five in a row against Djokovic but managed to snap that run in the semi-final of the Olympics with a 1-6 6-3 6-1 victory. However, the world number one got revenge at the same stage of the US Open in a brutal five setter lasting almost four hours.

Looking at the data from their five head-to-head meetings in the last couple of years, a dynamic which should encourage Zverev supporters is that he's been pretty competitive in the matches, winning 49% of points played despite only winning once.

Essentially, his issue has been converting break points (he was 3/12 at the US Open) and in particular, saving them (he saved just 3/9 that day). A summary of those matches is that, again, key moments dictated the outcomes.

On hard courts this year, Djokovic's advantage on return gives him the edge here, but don't be surprised at all if Zverev puts in a very strong display. Could we see the fourth final set tiebreak of the event here? It's certainly possible.

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