ATP/WTA Miami 2016 Match Previews

26th March 2016:-

Matches in Miami this afternoon/evening commence in around an hour and a half, again at 3pm UK time, and there are 16 ATP matches, and a further eight WTA matches to get stuck into.

In this tournament, projected hold percentages are generally lower than tour averages, with Miami one of the slower hard courts on tour, and all stats mentioned below - and much more - are available via the daily ATP/WTA spreadsheets, with further detailed data available in the lead loss/recovery data sheets.  For a free one-day trial of the ATP/WTA spreadsheets, please sign-up here.

The tie of the day disappointed yesterday, with Roger Federer withdrawing from his match with Juan Martin Del Potro with a stomach virus, and then Del Potro disappointing further with a straight set defeat to the 'very' lucky loser Horacio Zeballos.

A match of such magnitude isn't on the schedule tonight although from an interest perspective I am looking forward to seeing how the in-form Marcos Baghdatis gets on against Nick Kyrgios, whose stats have rocketed in 2016.  However trading avenues for that match aren't plentiful.

That's not the case for some of the other matches in the card, with John Millman's clash against Pablo Cuevas looking very likely to provide swings.  Cuevas starts as a slight favourite which looks justified, and both players have low projected hold percentages around the 70% mark.  Cuevas' deficit recovery stats are superb (55% recovery of first break deficit in set since July 2014) and with Millman mediocre at protecting leads, opposing the Aussie when a break up and trading below SP appeals.

Pablo Cuevas can be backed when losing against John Millman...

Andreas Seppi and Alexandr Dolgopolov's match also has some good swing trading potential and it wouldn't shock me at all if this went over the 22.5 game handicap line, or went three sets.  At around 1.50, I make Dolgopolov a little value and I'm keen to oppose Seppi when a break up and trading below SP also.

Other players likely to be a little vulnerable when leading include Andrey Kuznetsov (against Stan Wawrinka) and Aljaz Bedene (versus Roberto Bautista-Agut).

As for heavy underdogs, if there was a shock I'd be looking towards Pierre-Hugues Herbert against Kei Nishikori - Herbert's stats have really improved in the last 12 months - or Tim Smyczek against John Isner in an obvious serve orientated match.

There's a number of intriguing matches in the women's event tonight with the field now being narrowed and matches generally between two reasonably well matched opponents.  Tonight only three of the eight matches feature favourites priced below 1.70.

Two matches where the markets have found it hard to split the players are Timea Bacsinszky against Ana Ivanovic and Elina Svitolina against Caroline Wozniacki.  

Ivanovic and Wozniacki, as the two more illustrious players, look to have some value on them with my model pricing both a little below 1.70.  It's certainly not the first time that markets don't like players considered to be 'out of form' - the problem with the WTA is that it is so volatile and quite cyclical, so a player frequently goes from being hero to zero and back again very quickly!

For those matches, I like opposing Bacsinszky and Svitolina when a break up and trading below SP.

Petra Kvitova's stats have plummeted of late and she faces fellow big server Ekaterina Makarova in the first match of the day.  In a likely serve orientated match, frequent swings are unlikely but I'm surprised that Kvitova is such a short price (1.60) - similar to against Nicole Gibbs last week.  

I also feel that Simona Halep, who hasn't convinced in 2016 at all, looks a bit short at around 1.25 against Julia Goerges, whose stats have markedly improved of late.

Britain's Heather Watson is another player whose hard court stats certainly are better than their ranking and she takes on Yanina Wickmayer.  Watson is slight favourite at around 1.70 and that looks about right, and this also could be a good candidate for three sets.  The lead loss/recovery data indicates in-set swings are more likely should Watson lead, as opposed to Wickmayer.

Good luck in the markets, and stay green!

25th March 2016:-

Again matches start at 3pm UK time in Miami tonight and we are treated to another 32 matches on the schedule, with 16 matches played on each tour this afternoon/evening.

Projected hold percentages are generally lower than tour averages, with Miami one of the slower hard courts on tour, and all stats mentioned below - and much more - are available via the daily ATP/WTA spreadsheets, with further detailed data available in the lead loss/recovery data sheets.  For a free one-day trial of the ATP/WTA spreadsheets, please sign-up here.

In the ATP, there's no doubt on the tie of the day, with Roger Federer (around 1.40) facing Juan Martin Del Potro, with either player probably likely to be a little bit away from their highest level.  Statistically the data likes laying Del Potro at short prices (set and break, break up set three etc...) with a slightly low projected hold percentage and Federer's superb deficit recovery stats.

Roger Federer returns to tour following minor knee surgery tonight...

Lucas Pouille was not many traders' friend after disposing of Teymuraz Gabashvili easily in the opening round and the Frenchman - not averse to a choke - takes on Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (1.67 - and some value) today.  GGL has excellent recovery stats in set one, and getting the first break in set two when he loses the first set, but not at a set and break, so laying Pouille a break up in the opening set or if he takes this set look to be reasonable entry points.

Taylor Fritz's match with David Ferrer (1.40) is another intriguing match with it providing an opportunity to gauge the immensely promising American player's level against a top ten opponent.  My suspicion is that Ferrer's experience and will to win will get him into the next round but he may not have it his own way throughout the match.  It would also be a big win for Fritz and there is a reasonable chance that he will succumb to pressure if he does get close to the winning line.  I don't have lead loss stats for Fritz, but Ferrer's deficit recovery is superb (49.2% of first break deficits in sets recovered since July 2014) and laying Fritz at low prices appeals here.

Mikhail Youzhny and Benoit Paire could easily combine to produce a comedy of errors in their meeting, and it wouldn't be a shock for the lead to change hands on numerous occasions.  Paire is the slight underdog at around 2.10 which doesn't make that much sense to me based on the stats, and that's probably based on several recent defeats for the erratic Frenchman.  I'm quite keen to take on Youzhny when a break up in this match.  I also think this match is a decent candidate go over the 22.5 game handicap line.

Several underdogs also look worth taking on if they trade low - Inigo Cervantes (against Viktor Troicki) and Juan Monaco (versus Gilles Simon) are amongst these players.

In the WTA, I quite like the improving Nicole Gibbs against Kristina Mladenovic who is likely to prefer quicker conditions, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (vs Kiki Bertens) and Roberta Vinci (who has won all four head to head matches against Lucie Hradecka) as favourites.  

As underdogs, Shuai Peng could prove to be value at around 4.00 as she continues her comeback on tour against Monica Niculescu, whilst Johanna Konta is priced a little short at 1.33 against Danka Kovinic.

Dominika Cibulkova against Garbine Muguruza is arguably the best match on the card in the women's event today and prices (Muguruza around 1.75 favourite) look about right.  I do like taking on Cibulkova when trading short here though.

If we get the chance with underdogs Elena Vesnina and Magda Linette we can also look to take them on close to victory.

Good luck in the markets, and stay green!

24th March 2016:-

This afternoon/evening's matches in Miami start at 3pm UK time, and again there are plenty of matches on the schedule with 16 matches on each tour being played today.

Projected hold percentages are generally lower than tour averages, with Miami one of the slower hard courts on tour, and all stats mentioned below - and much more - are available via the daily ATP/WTA spreadsheets, with further detailed data available in the lead loss/recovery data sheets.  For a free one-day trial of the ATP/WTA spreadsheets, please sign-up here.

Both Pablo Carreno-Busta and John Millman fit into the bracket of low projected hold percentages for their match, and there looks to be very slight value on the Spaniard at a touch of odds on.  With a combined score of 77 - much higher than the ATP mean - on Millman when a break up, I do like laying the Aussie when leading.

Some of the later matches on the card catch the eye, with Hyeon Chung's clash with Denis Kudla looking to have good swing trading potential.  Chung is favourite at around 1.45 and that looks about right, although it wouldn't have shocked me if he was offered at a bigger price incorrectly.  The market seems to like Kudla a fair bit generally, and is still unsure of Chung.  With Chung losing the first break lead of sets 43% in his young ATP career, and recovering 45% of deficits, swings are commonplace in his matches, and Kudla's lead loss is around average, with deficit recovery below average.  On that basis, as well as the American having a low projected hold, laying Kudla when a break up is likely to appeal.

Marcos Baghdatis is available at around 1.50 against Benjamin Becker, which looks value.  The Cypriot leads a recent head to head series 3-0 and Becker produces his best tennis in much quicker conditions.  Taking bigger prices on Baghdatis when a break down (Becker has a low projected hold and Baghdatis' break deficit recovery stats are surprisingly good) makes sense.

Marcos Baghdatis looks to be solid value against Benjamin Becker tonight...

Sergiy Stakhovsky has waded into the equal pay debate but should he not get too distracted, he should be way better than the mediocre Chilean youngster, Nicolas Jarry, who prefers clay.  However the Ukrainian did withdraw from his semi-final last time out in Quimper and it might be worth checking out the first few games of the match before getting involved.

Pierre-Hugues Herbert also looks generously priced at around 1.95 to get past Lukas Rosol.  Rosol's hard court stats (81.0% hold, 13.9% breaks) are pretty average, and Herbert is 7-4 at ATP level on the surface in the last 12 months, and 13-3 in completed ATP qualifiers in the same time period (two defeats to Mikhail Youzhny).  

In women's action, a number of matches have swing trading potential.

I like the promising Russian, Margarita Gasparyan, against Timea Bacsinszky, who seems to have gone off the boil in recent months.  Gasparyan's stats on hard court impress, at over 105% hold/break combined, and I'm surprised to see her priced at 2.20 for this match.

Irina Falconi cost many traders with her easy win in the first round, but even as out of form as she is, Petra Kvitova should be way too good for the American in this match.  Laying Falconi at short prices (e.g. set and break, serving for match etc) should be a good entry point with her likely to get very nervous in this eventuality.

This is also likely to be the case for Shuai Zhang, against Elina Svitolina (who has solid break deficit recovery numbers), and Zarina Diyas, who faces Daria Gavrilova in a match with decent swing potential.  It wouldn't shock me at all if that match covered the over 20.5 game line either.  

Julia Goerges - in a clash of big servers - has chances as an underdog against Sam Stosur, whilst at bigger prices, I feel that Daria Kasatkina could have a better chance than the odds reflect against the out of form Simona Halep.  However, Kasatkina has a propensity to choke away leads and this will need to be addressed if she is to realise her high potential.

Good luck in the markets, and stay green!

23rd March 2016:-

Today's play in Miami is around an hour away, and traders are spoilt for choice with 36 matches spread across the ATP (16) and WTA (20) Tours.

In the ATP, the first round could easily be mistaken for a Challenger event, so solid knowledge of some non-regulars on the ATP Tour is required.  This task is made much easier by implementation of ratios to compare Challenger and Qualifier data to main tour.  This is effectively a reduction factor based on non main tour stats.

All stats mentioned below - and much more - are available via the daily ATP/WTA spreadsheets, with further detailed data available in the lead loss/recovery data sheets.  For a free one-day trial of the ATP/WTA spreadsheets, please sign-up here.

In the early match, Kyle Edmund looks vulnerable against Jiri Vesely.  The Czech player is surprisingly a slight underdog for this match, probably due to six defeats from seven matches this year.   However, those stats show supreme underperformance in key points (something I'll discuss in a future article) and those awful rates are unsustainable.  He was much higher rated than Edmund in Challengers when he broke through, and I'm not convinced of Edmund's fitness (he was injured in the Davis Cup several weeks ago), and he looks to struggle in hot conditions in the latter stages of matches.  

Given this, it seems pretty logical to oppose Edmund when a set and break up or a break up in the final set.

Jiri Vesely could be celebrating tonight after his match with Kyle Edmund...

Lucas Pouille is another player who has a lot to prove to me and his stats don't impress at all.  He takes on the Georgian, Teymuraz Gabashvili, and I make Gabashvili value at around 1.80 today.  In addition, Pouille has lost 43.6% of first break leads in sets since July 2014 - well above the ATP average.  I like laying Pouille at low prices here, when a break up.

I'm also quite keen to take on Mikhail Youzhny (lost 50.0% of leads) against Ernests Gulbis, when a break up, and Juan Monaco (who may also struggle with fitness in latter stages) against Ivan Dodig.

Yoshihito Nishioka can also be opposed in these situations against Jared Donaldson, who I make value today.

In women's action, the first round concludes and I like Heather Watson's chances against the semi-retired Petra Cetkovska even at a short 1.25.  I'll be looking to back her at bigger prices, particularly in the latter stages of matches - Watson's deficit recovery percentages are very strong.

Another player who hasn't played a great deal lately is Vania King, but her performances since her comeback have been reasonable (wins over Voegele, Barthel and Townsend, plus semi-final and final in ITF events) and she should be able to take care of the hard-court hating Lourdes Dominguez Lino at around 1.50.  Lino is 1-12 in main tour WTA matches in the last three years, holding just 44.2%.  Opposing Lino if leading makes sense here.

Francesca Schiavone tends to fight when losing and looks worth backing when a break down and at short prices against the poor front-runner, Irina Falconi, who I don't particularly rate, and another bad front-runner is Magda Linette, who takes on Bethanie Mattek-Sands.  

I'm also interested to see how youngsters Samantha Crawford and CiCi Bellis fare against Coco Vandeweghe and Monica Puig respectively.   My model made both value today (although Bellis' sample is small) as heavy underdogs, and I'm particularly surprised to see Vandeweghe as short as 1.35 on a slow hard court.

Good luck in the markets, and stay green!

22nd March 2016:-

WTA Miami gets going in a few hours at 15:30 UK time, and there are 12 matches on the schedule in women's action today.  

However, as usual, live streams for the opening round in Miami do not seem to be available and this means that traders are reduced to using live scoreboards for entry points.  

This isn't necessarily a huge problem in an edge sense, for those who use stats as their main base for entering positions, but it may have an impact on liquidity.

All stats mentioned below - and much more - are available via the daily ATP/WTA spreadsheets, with further detailed data available in the lead loss/recovery data sheets.  For a free one-day trial of the ATP/WTA spreadsheets, please sign-up here.

Having said this, there are a number of matches that look interesting tonight.  Three of the twelve I won't have any interest in, with there not being enough stats on Sofia Zhuk, and fitness doubts over Shuai Peng and Laura Robson.

Of the other matches, the early all-Brazilian clash between Teliana Pereira and Beatriz Haddad Maia looks to be priced quite incorrectly, with the more experienced Pereira - whose results and stats on hard court are awful - the strong favourite at around 1.50.  Young prospect Haddad Maia, who received an extremely random wild card for the event, has reached the semi-final of several ITF events on hard court in her home country in January.  

With pre-match value on Haddad Maia, a low projected hold percentage on Pereira, and Pereira losing the first lead in a set 60.9% since July 2014, this looks to be a decent spot to take on Pereira when a break up and trading at a low price.

Teliana Pereira looks short against Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Another player I don't particularly rate is Alexandra Dulgheru.  The Romanian takes on Lesia Tsurenko - who got her season back on track at Indian Wells - and Tsurenko is the justified 1.30 favourite.

Dulgheru's stats (50.8% projected hold, 120.2 combined score - which is very high and shows vulnerability when leading) show that she can be taken on when trading low and leading.  Likely entry points here would be a set and break or a break up in set three.

Margarita Gasparyan's clash with Annika Beck also looks to have some trading potential, with both players poor front-runners.  Both have combined lead loss/deficit recovery scores well in excess of the WTA average and Beck in particular has a low projected hold percentage (51.9%).  

I'm also keen to take on Yulia Putintseva (against the rapidly improving Nicole Gibbs, who looks value at around 1.75) and possibly either player (depending on in-play stats) in the match between Olga Govortsova and Zarina Diyas.  Both have not impressed of late.

Good luck in the markets, and stay green!

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