The Tennis season continues apace with a further five tournaments in week six - there are ATP events in Rotterdam (500), Memphis and Sao Paulo (both 250s), and WTA tournaments in Antwerp (Premier) and Pattaya City (International). All events are on hard or indoor hard with the exception of Sao Paulo which will be played on clay.
As always, detailed daily data will be available via the daily trading spreadsheets, which can be purchased via the links on the right.
Week Six Trading Overview (only matches where point by point data is available):-
* No data available for WTA Antwerp
The table above illustrates the percentage of situations that 'trained' in these events in 2014.
As I mentioned in the previous previews, I've had some questions about trains on Twitter so I'll clarify this a little better - a train would be a situation where there is no upward price swing from a given position. Therefore in these instances, a set one winner train in set two would indicate that they took a set and break lead in set two and retained this lead without being broken back. A non-train would include the player that lost the first set breaking first in set two, or recovering a set and break deficit, or even recovering one break when a set and double break down.
Likewise, a set three train in this instance would be a player that has broken first and retains this lead throughout the deciding set.
Immediately apparent is the discrepancy between Rotterdam and the other two ATP events for train percentages in 2014. Both Memphis and Sao Paulo are below the ATP mean but Rotterdam had many one-sided straight set clashes.
Based on this data, laying the player a set up might not be the best idea in Rotterdam, although it's worth pointing out almost all players that broke first in set two won the set in the Netherlands. Conversely, laying the player a set up/set and break up in Memphis and Sao Paulo is likely to be much more successful. These train percentages also held for the third set, giving further weight for the data.
In the WTA, there was no 2014 data for Antwerp, with the event being played for the first time since 2008. However, in Pattaya City, there would look to be a great opportunity to lay the player who won the first set, or the set and break leader. The 2014 set two train percentage is the lowest of any tournament so far in the 2015 calendar. A possible reason for this is the conditions, which are likely to be hot and humid. Maintaining consistent effort might be a struggle for many players at this event.
ATP 500 Rotterdam:-
2014 service hold 82.9% (Indoor Hard mean 80.9%)
Conditions are likely to be quicker than average with fewer in-set swings.
Immediately we can see that Tomas Berdych and Andy Murray are a cut above the rest of the field. Both had impressive Australian Opens - Murray makes his return to tour following his defeat in the final to Novak Djokovic - and the quick indoor conditions should suit the Czech player, who is defending champion here in the Netherlands.
Gael Monfils is third on the combined hold/break table and the Frenchman courted further controversy with a number of strange comments in Montpellier. After a very poor straight sets defeat to Richard Gasquet in France, you back the enigma at your peril.
Stan Wawrinka is the 'best of the rest' but the quick conditions may not be quite to the Swiss' liking. He tends to struggle on surfaces which are a fair bit quicker than the mean and this is the case here. We can see that most of the field is very well matched and this should make for a very open tournament.
Finally, it will be interesting to see how youngster Alex Zverev fares. He opens with a difficult match against Roberto Bautista-Agut and my suspicion is that the young German is very over-rated and has a lot to prove, particularly serve wise. The improving Spaniard may well get some joy on return in this match.
ATP 250 Memphis:-
2014 service hold 74.7% (Indoor Hard mean 80.9%)
Conditions are likely to be very slow with many breaks of serve, and match swings.
World number five Kei Nishikori leads the field and the Japanese player loves this event, winning it in 2013 and 2014. The hold/break stats illustrate how dominant he is over the rest, who are much of a muchness. Again this should ensure a pretty open tournament.
It's very interesting to see a number of 'big servers' in the field, considering how slow the event played in 2014. This might well prove to be a scheduling mistake on their part. John Isner is definitely a case in point, with a very mediocre 7-6 venue record despite having a generally stellar record in his home country.
Youngsters Jared Donaldson and Stefan Kozlov face off in the first round after receiving wild cards. Currently I make Donaldson slightly more advanced in his career, and he already has one Challenger title to his name in 2015 after claiming the tournament in Maui several weeks ago.
Finally, Malek Jaziri will be an interesting watch after retiring with an 'injury' in Montpellier. Conspiracy theorists may be disappointed Dudi Sela is in the other half of the draw...
ATP 250 Sao Paulo:-
2014 service hold 82.3% (Clay mean 75.7%)
Conditions are likely to be very fast with few breaks of serve. However the 2014 data indicated many match swings.
I extended the contenders list because this tournament has so many players who can win it! I must admit I'm looking forward to this event immensely and trading conditions should be decent, with many swings in 2014, and many players who are relatively weaker on serve than return.
Federico Delbonis was a surprise winner last year and the Argentine will certainly welcome the clay season, as will the likes of clay courters Carlos Berlocq, Pablo Andujar, Juan Monaco and Fabio Fognini. In fact, if you made a list of the premier grinders on the ATP Tour, many entrants of this tournament would make the list.
Feliciano Lopez is top seed but I don't see him justifying any form of favouritism. The Spaniard is probably weaker on clay than any other surface and, at the time of writing, has stumbled his way to the semi-finals of Quito (only two wins after a first-round bye) where he plays countryman Fernando Verdasco. Both need to make the journey from Ecuador at the weekend to play here.
Martin Klizan disappointed in Quito but having read some comments from the Slovakian where he mentioned how unimpressed he was by conditions, he may well be under-rated by the market next week.
One player I'm keen to see is Diego Sebastian Schwartzman. For those who know little about the diminutive Argentine, he's superb on return and atrocious on serve. His matches have many swings but he's had huge success on clay on the Challenger Tour, so now he's broken into the top 100, it will be fascinating to see how he does in ATP events. He could get some decent results and it wouldn't be a shock at all to see him take out Paolo Lorenzi in the first round.
Brazilians Joao Souza and Guilherme Clezar are logical wild cards, but Belgian Kimmer Coppejans isn't. He's only held 68.8% in 26 clay court Challenger matches in the last 12 months, so I'd expect him to struggle to hold serve consistently here. He takes on Santiago Giraldo in his opener.
Finally, 2011 & 2012 champion Nicolas Almagro is a dangerous lurker in the field, but the Spaniard is still getting back to match fitness following a long absence and it's difficult to establish his level prior to the tournament.
WTA Premier Antwerp:-
2014 service hold N/A (Indoor Hard mean 62.9%)
As this is a new event on tour, conditions are unknown.
This is another event I'm really looking forward to. Based on the 2008 data (the last time this tournament was played), conditions were slow with 60.9% of service games being held. Initially, I have no other choice but to use this as a benchmark prior to the start of the main draw.
It may surprise some readers to see that Camila Giorgi and Karolina Pliskova lead the hold/break percentages on hard and indoor hard. Giorgi in particular has a superb record indoors and will be very dangerous, whilst Pliskova has improved greatly in the last six months and will be an opponent nobody will relish, although a trip from Canada where she plays Fed Cup this weekend definitely won't boost her chances.
Eugenie Bouchard and Angelique Kerber lead the way on a rankings basis and I'm almost certain both, and Bouchard in particular, will be over-rated by the market here. Carla Suarez Navarro and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni have been fighting injury so may not be fit, whilst Andrea Petkovic is generally mediocre and over-rated away from clay.
Whilst I've criticised the serve of Annika Beck many times in the past, Indoor Hard is definitely her best surface and she will be a difficult player to get past. However it will be expected that she will concede the lead on many occasions as will fellow poor servers Klara Koukalova and Monica Niculescu.
WTA International Pattaya City:-
2014 service hold 65.5% (Hard mean 64.1%)
Conditions will play slightly fast, although there should be many lead swings based on the 2014 data.
Apart from the time zone issue, this is another tournament I'm keenly anticipating, with the 2014 data above showing that there were many swings.
Shuai Peng leads a very weak field with only five players boasting a hard court combined hold/break percentage over 100%. These low quality tournaments are usually very good for trading with poor players often struggling to maintain level, and therefore leads.
Elina Svitolina and Zarina Diyas are also contenders but have to travel from Europe from where they played Fed Cup at the weekend, and as with Pliskova in Antwerp, this won't help her at all. Jarmila Gajdosova also needs to travel from Germany, where she got a superb victory over top 10 player Angelique Kerber.
The non-contenders in this field are generally of a very poor level. I'd be very surprised if a player away from these contenders took the title, unless conditions are very extreme and make the tournament a bit of a lottery.
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