Miami Open Men's Day Four Tips: Dan the man to beat Nishioka
There's more second round action at the Miami Masters today, with a further 16 matches on Saturday's schedule. Dan Weston returns to preview the day ahead...
Kyrgios shows his best on day of drama
Yesterday's action in Florida created plenty of talking points, with Nick Kyrgios' demolition of Andrey Rublev probably the most prominent. In yesterday's preview, I discussed the Australian's very high peak level and it was demonstrated yesterday - it just makes it all the more frustrating for his supporters that he is so inconsistent.
A number of matches went to a final set tiebreak, with Jannik Sinner just about edging Emil Ruusuvuori in a decider, as did Fabio Fognini against Taro Daniel, in the battle of the clay-courters. Brandon Nakashima was another player unfortunate to exit, being a set up before losing a second set breaker and then a one-break final set to Frances Tiafoe.
All of the above illustrates what I've said numerous times in this column. There are extremely fine margins in top-level professional sport between winning and losing, and that's why any success or failure for players, or indeed, columns like this, need to be viewed on a long-term basis.
Murray a long-shot against Medvedev
Moving on to today's action, arguably the match of the day is Daniil Medvedev against Andy Murray. The top seed is very short-priced at 1.14 to win this, and it will be fascinating to see if Murray's current best can challenge Medvedev here.
As with yesterday, there are numerous matches featuring short-priced favourites, and the day is - in theory at least - one of quite a few mismatches.
Very few clashes tonight have a favourite priced in excess of 1.6, which means that unless there are shocks, it might not be the best viewing for a neutral.
Evans looking like value against Nishioka
One match worth discussing is Yoshihito Nishioka versus Dan Evans, and the Brit, Evans, is the favourite at 1.54.
Even as a favourite, I think Evans is the value here. Several months ago, he was even money at the Australian Open against Felix Auger-Aliassime, and a similar price to today in the Sydney warm-up event against Aslan Karatsev.
Both Auger-Aliassime and Karatsev are big upgrades on Nishioka in my view, and I wonder whether the market is factoring in an old 3-0 head-to-head record in favour of the Japanese man.
Evans hasn't got a huge number of wins under his belt this year so far but the vast majority of his losses have been against high level opposition - the last two were versus Nadal and Rublev.
Nishioka qualified to be here, almost losing to Chris Eubanks in the second round of qualies, and dropped a set even against Emilio Gomez in round one several days ago. Numbers-wise, I just don't see him at a high level so I'm quite happy to favour Evans here.
Khachanov a lean against Paul
On a rather uninspiring schedule, the other match I want to discuss is Tommy Paul versus Karen Khachanov. Stats-wise, Khachanov has the edge on 12-month hard court data, with his strong service numbers outweighing his opponent's.
Despite this, the Olympic champion is only a slight 1.9 favourite to progress here, and as with Evans, Khachanov's defeats this season have been mostly against high level opposition - recent ones have all been against top 20 players including Djokovic and Nadal, and his last was against Jenson Brooksby, who while he isn't in the top 20, I think will be pretty soon.
Paul has a better record this year but in my view, against a lower calibre of opposition. On this basis alone, it will be fascinating to see where the American is at, and I'd lean towards Khachanov at prices here. However, it's Evans who is today's recommendation.
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