Miami Open Men's Day Two Tips: Hoping I'm a good judge by backing Rinder

First round action at the ATP Indian Wells Masters continues on Thursday, and after picking up a winner on day one, Dan Weston returns to preview the day ahead...

Kokkinakis gives us a day one winner

Thanasi Kokkinakis eased to a straight set win over Richard Gasquet late last night to cover the game handicap for us and give us a positive start to the tournament on day one. There's 16 first-round matches remaining, all on today's schedule, which I've run through to try and find the value to build on that start.

The problem is, the card looks pretty trappy. There's a number of clay-courters featuring tonight, who tend not to play much away from the dirt, and unfortunately there's not much of a sample size of hard court data for the majority of those players.

Throw into the mix that there are many short-priced favourites today as well, and most of the 16 matches don't look particularly enticing from a pre-match perspective.

Djere with long-term struggles on hard court

One clay-courter who I've seen enough of to know that they're pretty ineffective on hard court is Laslo Djere. He's running at 96% combined service/return points won on hard court in the last 12 months, with even worse longer-term data - making him a markedly below average hard-courter at this level.

Today, Djere faces Arthur Rinderknech who reached the semi-final on hard court in Doha last month, beating the likes of Denis Shapovalov and Alexander Bublik on the way. Rinderknech also reached the final in January of the Adelaide warm-up event for the Australian Open as well, so he's got some very decent hard court pedigree of late.

Numbers suggest there's a pretty sizeable ability differential between the two players on hard court, yet Rinderknech is available at 1.65 to get the win, which looks decent value even as a favourite.

Kecmanovic looking to back up recent impressive form

Miomir Kecmanovic impressed last time out at Indian Wells, with three underdog wins including one over sixth seed Matteo Berrettini, and showed signs that he's finally starting to convert his potential which he showed several years ago at Challenger level.

Kecmanovic's opponent tonight is the qualifier Jack Sock, who has had fitness issues for a couple of years now, and also withdrew/retired from the first two events this season, both at Challenger level.

Sock's non-retirement defeats this year, though, have been against strong opposition (Fritz/Opelka/Tsitsipas) while his wins have been against generally mediocre opponents, so it's pretty tough to assess his level.

I'm leaning towards making the market about right here. Kecmanovic has a numbers edge on hard court over the last year and the 1.65 about the Serb doesn't feel too far out of line.

Popryin drifts from last week's head-to-head clash with Musetti

Finally, Lorenzo Musetti and Alexei Popyrin met a few times at Challenger level as they were making their way up the rankings, and indeed last week at the Phoenix Challenger (Musetti won 6-2 6-2). However, both players are now inside the top 100 - albeit having dropped from their peak rankings just outside the top 50.

Musetti has more long-term upside, in my view, but Popyrin has marginally better hard court data over the last 12 months.

Both have disappointed this year, and really need a win to kick-start their season. At the prices, having drifted from that match last week against Musetti, I'd lean towards siding with Popyrin at 2.44, but it's Rinderknech who is today's recommendation.

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