May 2014 Match Previews Archive


Martin Klizan is favourite against Marcel Granollers in a match where both played a 5 setter in the previous round...

Current ATP 5 set winners still in the tournament:-
(For more information please check out the Implications of winning a 5 set match article.

Martin Klizan - 3 sets vs Nishikori, 5 sets vs Haase
Marcel Granollers - 1 set vs Dodig, 5 sets vs Dolgopolov
Fernando Verdasco - 3 sets vs Llodra, 5 sets vs Cuevas

Already eliminated after a 5 set win:-

Jarkko Nieminen
Facundo Bagnis
Mikhail Youzhny
Radek Stepanek
Thomaz Bellucci
Axel Michon
Andreas Haider-Maurer
Steve Johnson

Matches got underway several hours ago at Roland Garros, but there are still 5 men's and 5 women's matches scheduled for the rest of the day.

Trading options are fairly thin on the ground though, and it's just the heavy underdogs that have high combined scores and low projected holds today.

In the men's event, Marcel Granollers is the only player with a pre-match projected hold low enough to consider laying his serve immediately, and he takes on Martin Klizan in a match where both players played 5 sets in the previous round.

Stats make Klizan fairly priced at 1.48 but it's worth noting he threw away a 2-0 lead in the second round against Robin Haase, and Granollers recovered the same deficit against Alexandr Dolgopolov.  On that basis, and the fact that Granollers has a much better deciding set record in the three match format, laying Klizan if he goes 2-0 up in sets is mandatory.

The other men's match of interest today features the impressive Roberto Bautista-Agut, who may be able to trouble favourite Tomas Berdych in their clash.  The Spaniard has an excellent record as an underdog and Berdych's stats on clay aren't the best - just 79.7% holds and 27.3% breaks in the last 12 months, which wouldn't make him a top 10 clay courter.

What Berdych does well, however, is recover break deficits.  I've made the point many times that he is one of the best on tour for this and Tier Two Spreadsheet subscribers benefit from the exact stats on a regular basis.  With the pre-match value on the Spaniard, I'd be a little more reticent to do this trade today, although I don't feel it would have any negative expectation.

In the women's tournament, I feel Pauline Parmentier's run will come to an end against Mona Barthel, although you never know what you're going to get from the German, and she does have a horror record when a decent favourite (she's 1.36 today).  But my projected hold model makes Parmentier's the second lowest projected hold of the day (the lowest was Taylor Townsend) and opposing her serve will surely be worthwhile here.

I also like laying Anna Schmiedlova a break up against Garbine Muguruza and it's just about enough positive expectation for the same course of action on Johanna Larsson against Eugenie Bouchard.

Good luck in the markets and there will be more tomorrow!


Juan Monaco's match with Andreas Seppi has the potential to be an epic match for trading...

Current ATP 5 set winners still in the tournament:-
(For more information please check out the Implications of winning a 5 set match article.

Radek Stepanek - 5 sets vs Arguello, 4 sets vs Youzhny
Thomaz Bellucci - 5 sets vs Becker
Axel Michon - 5 sets vs Klahn
Andreas Haider-Maurer - 5 sets vs Brands
Steve Johnson - 5 sets vs Lokoli
Martin Klizan - 3 sets vs Nishikori, 5 sets vs Haase
Marcel Granollers - 1 set vs Dodig, 5 sets vs Dolgopolov

Already eliminated after a 5 set win:-

Jarkko Nieminen
Facundo Bagnis
Mikhail Youzhny

There are 32 matches today at Roland Garros as the second round of the French Open reaches its conclusion.  Action starts at 10am UK time today - as has been the case all week - in around two hours time.

Four men's matches and six women's matches take place at 10am and there aren't too many trading highlights in the opening ATP clashes, with three matches featuring 'big servers' and the other a very heavy favourite.

In one of the matches featuring big servers, I do like the chances of Andreas Haider-Maurer at around 3.10 against Ivo Karlovic but my worry would be the edge that the Croat has in a tie-break situation, which are highly likely here.  

In line with previous days, live matches have tended to feature the heavy favourite 'household name' and this is no different in the early men's live match - David Ferrer, who starts at 1.04 against Simone Bolelli.

I don't have any recent in-play stats on the Italian so it's tough to recommend an in-play avenue but as discussed many times previously, Ferrer is often vulnerable when a break up - he's lost this lead 34.9% in the last 12 months to get back on serve and this is not only above the top 100 mean of 31.9%, it's very poor indeed for a top 5 player.

Three more matches commence following these, and it will be very interesting to see how the prospect with great potential, Dominic Thiem, fares against the king of clay, Rafael Nadal.  Nadal starts at 1.05 and because of the Spaniard's superb 40.5% percentage for breaking opponents on clay in the last 12 months, Thiem's projected hold is low here. 

Furthermore, with the young Austrian conceding a break lead 34.4% in the last 12 months, and Nadal's deficit recovery consistently excellent at 53.7%, the combined score when Thiem is a break up is 88.4 - easily enough to warrant opposing Thiem a break up here.  However, realistically the price won't be viable to do that unless he is a set and break up at least.

Starting at a similar time is the on-form Guillermo Garcia-Lopez who takes on Adrian Mannarino.  Garcia-Lopez is short at 1.19 against Mannarino, who isn't adept on the surface and took out a fellow clay hater, Yen-Hsun Lu, in the previous round.

Stats indicate there could be breaks here with Mannarino's serve very vulnerable with a pre-match projected hold of 60.4% - well below the 75.7% ATP mean.  

In addition to this, the combined scores when either player is a break up are over the required 75 to lay an ATP player a break up - with both players losing a break lead over 40% of the time.

This is also the case for the match between Juan Monaco and Andreas Seppi, which has the potential to be the best match for trading today.

Both players have been far from their best in 2014 and Monaco starts as favourite at around 1.70.  That looks pretty reasonable as his return stats - breaking opponents 33.6% to Seppi's 28.5% - are better, with Seppi having a very slight edge on serve.

This leads to two low projected holds and should either player have some difficulty holding (holds to 30 or worse, or gets broken) then opposing their serve when the match is on serve should be a move with positive long-term expectation.

As mentioned, the combined scores are above the required 75 here too - both players give up break leads much more than average (Seppi 47.9%, Monaco 39.0%) and recover deficits well too (Seppi 43.8%, Monaco 51.9%).  It's worth making the point that despite a trying year, Monaco's break back stats have been very consistent and indicates serve problems as opposed to anything return related.

There are few ATP players around that love a 5 set match more than Seppi.  The Italian has played an incredible 13 out of 23 Grand Slam matches in five sets since January 2012 with 7 being decided in straight sets and 3 in four sets.  Opposing the set leader in this should be a worthwhile strategy.

Another ATP match of interest is the clash between Thomaz Bellucci and Fabio Fognini, with both being most comfortable on clay.  I feel the volatile Italian is a little short at 1.22 against a competent opponent and I'd expect these two to have more than their fair share of breaks of serve today.

With Bellucci losing a break lead 50.0% and Fognini 40.0% - which illustrates how often the talented but carefree Fognini loses focus and concentration - and both players able to recover deficits over 40%, this is easily enough to take combined scores well over the required 75 to lay either player a break up here.

There's less edges in WTA action today, but I like the chances of Polona Hercog against Sloane Stephens in a match that's been priced up at around evens apiece - certainly the Slovenian is happier on clay and has better hold/break stats.

My plan for this is to lay Stephens if she goes a set up - when priced between 1.70 and 2.30 she has only won 3/15 in straight sets in the last 12 months.  With Hercog having a strong record at winning at least a set in the same price range, this seems a very strong statistical play.

I feel that the clash between Jelena Jankovic and Kurumi Nara could be closer than the odds suggest although - quite surprisingly - Jankovic has a solid record at winning in straight sets when priced under 1.20.

Both players are excellent at recovering break deficits and have combined scores in excess of the 105 required in the WTA to lay the player a break up.  Nara in particular impresses with a 60.5% break deficit recovery stat.

There could also be break leads lost in the match between Teliana Pereira and Sorana Cirstea with the Romanian looking vulnerable at 1.44 here against an opponent who favours the surface much more.

Pereira's matches tend to feature a lot of breaks and as a player that is stronger on return than serve, she has lost a break lead 58.3% and recovered a break deficit 60.0% - both well above the tour mean.

As far as upsets go, perhaps Sara Errani is a little short at 1.10 against Dinah Pfizenmaier, considering the Italian's injury issues, but I'd be surprised if the similarly priced Andrea Petkovic (against Stefanie Voegele) found herself knocked out today.  I also can't see a story for the British public and Heather Watson against the consistently impressive Simona Halep, who justifiably finds herself as the tournament second favourite after the shock exit of Serena Williams yesterday.

Good luck in the markets and there will be more tomorrow!


Paula Ormaechea's match with Monica Niculescu should provide break-backs...

With action underway on day 4 of Roland Garros, this afternoon still provides some good trading opportunities in the remaining matches.

Five men's and 11 women's matches start at 2pm UK time or later (in around an hour) and they includeJohn Isner against Mikhail Kukushkin in a clash of very contrasting styles.

Kukushkin tends to let break leads slip and be able to recover deficits better than most, the complete opposite to the big-serving American.  Isner starts at 1.29 which I feel is short and Kukushkin can take a set in this at least.  Laying Isner pre-match with a view to backing him later at a bigger price appeals.

An interesting match in prospect is the home favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who starts as a 1.20 favourite today, against Jurgen Melzer.  The Austrian veteran has improved his clay stats this season and despite his age, may not decline in a long match, as he has an excellent deciding set record in the 3-set normal ATP format.

Prices seem pretty reasonable but I like laying Melzer a break up here.

With projected holds close and a little above average, I feel the clash between Jarkko Nieminen andJerzy Janowicz is virtually 50/50 apiece.  So value on the Finn at around 2.30 there.

In the women's event, Carla Suarez Navarro starts at 1.24 - which seems fair enough - against Timea Baczinsky.  Both projected holds are low with Suarez Navarro having a reasonable edge, and it's also worth noting the Spanish clay-courter has an excellent record when heavy favourite.  She tends to get the job done against worse opponents.

I feel laying Baczinsky's serve when possible should work well here - I'd expect CSN to break with regularity.

That's also something I'd expect of Dominika Cibulkova for her match with Tamira Paszek, who also has a very low projected hold.  I'm not Cibulkova's biggest fan on the dirt but I make her value even at a short 1.22 today.  Laying Paszek's serve when the match is on serve (realistically the price dictates this will only happen when she's a set up or in a deciding set) and also when a break up appeals today.

I also quite like the chances of Alja Tomljanovic as an underdog against Elena Vesnina.  Stats make this much closer than the odds suggest and I like laying Vesnina when a break up.

Alize Cornet has excellent return and break-back stats and the young American, Taylor Townsend, may not have enough clay court experience to cause a shock.  The Frenchwoman starts at 1.20 which is fair enough, but looking to get on Cornet if a break down appeals, despite the lack of in-play data on Townsend - Cornet's break-back stats are THAT good...

I expect Yaroslava Shvedova to get through against Pauline Parmentier with the French player very limited indeed at this level.  The Kazakh starts at 1.31 and that's a bit of value for me, although it's worth making the point that she doesn't tend to win by big margins.

Opposing the Parmentier serve is mandatory when her projected hold is so low.

Finally, whilst projected holds aren't hugely low, I feel the clash between Monica Niculescu and Paula Ormaechea (above, pictured) offers an excellent chance for break-backs.

Niculescu starts at around 1.75 which is simply wrong for me - she's not a strong clay courter at all.  However Ormaechea's record as an underdog is a great worry.  I feel laying Niculescu when a break up is the best strategy today.

Good luck in the markets and there will be more tomorrow!


Stats show that Michael Russell chokes on key points and in the late stages of sets...

There's a huge 54 matches on the schedule at Roland Garros today and they get underway shortly.

However, a miserable 8 (4 ATP and 4 WTA) are streamed so live tennis is at a premium.  Furthermore these live matches are matches involving heavy favourites (1.13, 1.01, 1.01 and 1.14 in the ATP and 1.17, 1.05, 1.18 and 1.18 in the WTA) so unless you enjoy watching routine wins for high ranked players, you will be disappointed today...

If I was going to pick an underdog to have a chance in one of those live matches, it would be Virginie Razzano in her home country over Dominika Cibulkova, who has unimpressive clay stats over the last year.  Cibulkova starts at 1.17 and that's a decent lay to back opportunity for me.

Petra Kvitova may well be taken to her almost standard 3 sets by the impressive young Kazakh, Zarina Diyas as well, but I'd be surprised if the Czech didn't win through eventually.

There are a lot of matches where there are likely to be in-set swings based on projected holds and/or break-back percentages.  It's always worth checking liquidity with many matches played at the same time prior to placing a trade as liquidity is often stretched in these early stages, particularly in non-streamed matches.

Adrian Mannarino and Yen-Hsun Lu both would not count clay as their best surface and they're priced around evens.  Projected holds are both low but it's worth noting Lu has highly impressive break-back stats so laying Mannarino a break up appeals.

Donald Young and Dudi Sela would also be in the same bracket of not being huge surface fans but Young looks reasonably priced at 1.46 when I made him a little shorter.  Projected holds are both very low indeed with both players having big issues holding on clay at ATP level.

Break-back percentages show either player can be laid a break up.

Paolo Lorenzi should have his serve tested by the impressive Roberto Bautista-Agut, who has broken 31.6% on clay in the last year.  Lorenzi can definitely be laid a break up here.

Projected holds aren't especially low in the match between Robin Haase and Nikolay Davydenko whilst both players are well out of form.  However the combined score from the break-back percentages are high so either player can be reasonably opposed a break up.

Finally in the ATP, I feel the American veteran Michael Russell (above, pictured), may struggle on serve against Alejandro Gonzalez.  Gonzalez starts at 1.28 which is fairly reasonable but I'm not sure it will be entirely straightforward.  Russell chokes badly in key situations (late games of sets, when a break up, on break points) according to the stats and this is always worth bearing in mind for his matches.

Russell's projected hold is low whilst break-back percentages show either player can be laid a break up with high positive expectation.

There are slightly less trading options in the WTA today but I feel the match between Michelle Larcher de Brito and Julia Goerges should have breaks - this isn't typical of matches involving Goerges with her generally being weak on return but Larcher de Brito is another Annika Beck type that struggles to hold more than 50% of the time.

Both Timea Baczinsky and Maryna Zanevska also are players that both have excellent return games and not especially impressive serves, and in a low profile match to start the day, this could have many breaks and this is unlikely to be something the markets are hugely aware of.

I also like laying Mona Barthel (against Karin Knapp)Paula Ormaechea (against Romina Oprandi),Elena Vesnina (against Christina McHale) and especially Anna Tatishvili (against Kurumi Nara) when a break up today.  Tatishvili in particular can be taken on, with a low projected hold and pre-match value being on the Japanese player.

Good luck in the markets and there will be more tomorrow!


Gilles Simon's serve may be vulnerable today...

It's the semi-final stage of this week's tournaments and there are several players at this stage who may not have expected to be here when the events started.

That's certainly the case in the Dusseldorf semi final between Jiri Vesely and Ivo Karlovic with Karlovic having a particularly poor record on the dirt.  I quite like Vesely at just under 1.50 for this but not much in the way of trading angles here.

One match where there is comes in Nice where home player Gilles Simon starts as a 1.67 favourite against Federico Delbonis.  Both had solid wins yesterday against very constrasting opponents in Carlos Berlocq and John Isner and I'm surprised Simon is this short - perhaps due to an easy win in straight sets over Delbonis' epic.

I make the Argentine the better clay courter in the last 12 months and this season as well and he's some value at around 2.50 although it's worth noting he doesn't have the best record as an underdog.

I feel Simon's serve can be put under pressure by Delbonis - Simon's pre-match projected hold is low today.  On that basis, the Rolling Projected Holds in today's Tier Two Spreadsheet show his serve can be laid in some situations when the set is on serve.

Furthermore, Simon - with a combined score of 79.3 - can be laid when a break up today.  He has a poor record of holding onto leads, particularly for a player of his rank.

There's nothing much to report in the WTA today although I like the opportunity of laying Silvia Soler-Espinosa if she leads by a break against Christina McHale.  McHale - who starts as a 1.38 favourite - has recovered a break deficit 55% in the last 12 months, with Soler-Espinosa losing a break lead 54.6%, giving a combined score of 109.6.  This is easily good enough for this trade in the WTA.

Good luck in the markets and there will be more tomorrow!


Andrea Petkovic has an excellent record at recovering break deficits...

It's getting to that time again - the quarter final stage in the week preceding a Grand Slam.  

Will players put all their efforts in this week knowing that they have an arduous 2-week campaign coming up at the French Open?  It's very hard to know which players will be trying and on that basis, there are far worse strategies than staking low and being generally cautious.

If I was a player outside the top 10, personally I'd give my all this week.  Realistically these players have next to no chance of making it deep in a Grand Slam so the prestige of a title should be a great attraction.  But who knows what goes on inside a players head...

One player that has a solid record of playing well in the week before big tournaments is Philipp Kohlschreiber.  He's a 1.17 favourite over the youngster Mate Delic today and it's worth noting that when priced under 1.20 in the last 12 months, Kohlschreiber is 9-0 without dropping a set, and in 44 matches in this odds range, he's only lost to Lukasz Kubot in 2009.

On that basis, favouring the German today would be a solid strategy and if Delic was to take the first set, backing Kohlschreiber at much bigger than SP appeals.  Delic also has a low projected hold and if he does take the lead, can be opposed in a variety of circumstances, according to the Rolling Projected Holds in today's ATP Tier Two Spreadsheet.

Projected holds are very low for the match between Gilles Simon and Carlos Berlocq with prices around evens the pair.  This may represent some value on Berlocq according to my model and I'm keener to side with the Argentine today.

Laying Simon's serve in particular whilst the set is on serve appeals, but the break-back percentages indicate neither player should be laid when a break up - therefore showing that dominant set wins may be the case here.

Particularly in Strasbourg, most players are better on serve than return so there's not much to get excited at over in the WTA today from a trading perspective, although I do like the opportunity of opposingMonica Puig when a break up against Andrea Petkovic (above, pictured).

The young Puerto Rican tends not to do things easily and yesterday's straightforward win over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni was a surprise.  Petkovic has excellent clay stats and a strong 58.8% break deficit recovery (the highest of all WTA players left across both tournaments this week) and on that basis, should provide a positive expectation entry should Puig go a break up today.

Good luck in the markets and there will be more tomorrow!

Stats indicate Juan Monaco's match with Marcel Granollers today could be swingy...

There are 27 matches on the schedule today across the ATP and WTA but despite this, trading options aren't hugely plentiful, with quite a few matches having projected holds and combined scores a break up being around average, and there are plenty of players with small clay sample sizes, especially in the WTA.

Juan Monaco (above, pictured) starts at 1.67 against Marcel Granollers in Dusseldorf, and that seems a fair price.  Projected holds are low for this and there should be breaks and swings, with Monaco's 73.1% hold and 32.4% break clay stats giving weight to that assertion.

The Rolling Projected Hold percentages in today's Tier Two Daily Spreadsheet indicate that either player's serve can be opposed when the match is on serve the vast majority of the time, and as Monaco has an excellent 51.9% break deficit recovery, Granollers can be laid a break up in this.

Another match where there could be service breaks is the clash between Andreas Seppi and Adrian Mannarino with the Italian perhaps a little short at 1.30, considering his inconsistency.

Projected holds are both low and the same course of action can be taken on either player's serve when the match is on serve, as long as the price is viable.  Furthermore, laying Seppi a break up at a low price definitely appeals as a low-risk proposition.

Those two look the best ATP prospects in Dusseldorf, with Nice having poorer trading conditions today.  The best opportunity there looks to be in the Dmitry Tursunov versus Robin Haase match with the Russian able to be opposed on serve much of the time, and also a break up.

One match I like for trading in particular on the women's card today is Elina Svitolina against Beatriz Garcia Vidagany.

Svitolina starts at 1.53 after a drift and that's not at all surprising.  Garcia Vidagany's clay qualifying stats throughout the year are highly impressive and Svitolina may be shocked here. 

What those stats do however indicate is that Garcia Vidagany is a player much better on return than on serve and this has created a low projected hold on Svitolina, so opposing her serve as a favourite definitely appeals here.

I also feel Monica Puig is quite short at 1.50 against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who is more than capable of taking at least a set today.  It wouldn't surprise me to see Puig trade odds against, at least.  Projected holds are high here but stats do recommend laying Puig a break up, and as a short favourite, this is definitely a solid plan.

Good luck in the markets and there will be more tomorrow!


Stats make Rafael Nadal a deserved favourite despite having lost the last three meetings to Novak Djokovic...

It's finals day in Rome and the two finals take the focus for my match previews today.

Obviously, as always, in all cases there is statistical reasoning for my thoughts and all of those statistics can be found in today's Tier Two Daily Spreadsheet.

The women's final is scheduled first with Sara Errani needing all the home support she can get if she is going to get past world number one Serena Williams.

The American - who has lost just one match on clay in the last 12 months - starts at around 1.12 which is about right based on the stats, and actually may even be several ticks too big.  She's faced Errani six times throughout her career and won all six, dropping just a solitary set in 2009.

Williams' projected hold is above average but not as high as is usually the case, due to Errani's superb return game which has generated 49.9% breaks of opponents serve in the last 12 months.  However, with one of the worst serves in the WTA game, Errani's projected hold is miserably low, and if she was to hold even 50% of the time, she should consider this an achievement today...

On that basis, opposing Errani's serve when the match is on serve is mandatory.  However, realistically, because of the starting prices, this would only come if she took the first set, or the latter stages of the final set.

What is also viable here is laying the Italian when a break up.  She's lost a break lead 53.9% in the last 12 months which is above the WTA top 100 mean, and is atrocious for a player around the top 10.  Williams is by some distance the best player on tour for recovering break deficits at 77.1%, and this leads to a combined score of 131.0 when Errani is a break up today, which is one of the highest combined scores I've seen recently...

Following this match is the men's final between the undoubted top two players in the world - Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.  

The Spaniard, on his favoured clay, starts at around 1.78 and perhaps this is a little on the generous side, but it's nothing huge.  Both players have had issues this week, dropping sets when heavy favourites, but have come through those scrapes to make today's encounter.

Nadal leads the head to head record at 22-18 but as the slightly older player that's not a huge surprise, and the head to head is fairly irrelevant, although it should be noted that Djokovic has taken the last three meetings - although none of those were on clay.

Projected holds are in favour of Nadal, making his status as favourite more than justified.  He's held 1% less (84.0% to 85.0%) but broken more (40.0% to 31.7%) on clay in the last 12 months.  Nadal's superb return stats ensure Djokovic's projected hold is several percent below ATP clay mean and this means that there are some very select circumstances that his serve can be laid when the set is on serve, according to the Rolling Projected Hold triggers in today's Tier Two Trading Spreadsheet.

Both players are fairly solid when a break up - Nadal has lost a break lead 22.8% of the time and Djokovic 17.0% and with Nadal better when a break down - he's recovered a deficit to get back on serve 53.7% as opposed to Djokovic's 44.0% - both players' combined scores when a break up fall below the required 75 mark, so it wouldn't be advised to lay either player a break up today.  If you held a gun to my head and forced me to pick a player to lay a break up, it would be the Serb, but thankfully we don't have to make those decisions!

There are three tournaments starting today as well and conditions in those should be a little on the slow side.  Strasbourg WTA also starts tomorrow.  

Several of the matches - Kukushkin vs Delbonis and Nara vs Niculescu - in particular have stats which make swings very likely but I'll leave those to subscribers today.

Good luck in the markets and there will be more tomorrow!


Sara Errani's match with Jelena Jankovic today looks to be the pick of the matches for in-set swings...

Today's previews focus on the semi final matches in Rome, for trading purposes.  Obviously, as always, in all cases there is statistical reasoning for my thoughts and all of those statistics can be found in today's Tier Two Daily Spreadsheet.

Matches are just getting underway with Sara Errani facing Jelena Jankovic in the opening clash.  

Both players are strong on return of serve and this leads to two low projected holds, with Jankovic edging those slightly.  However, she's a little short based on the projected holds at around 1.62 and that's possibly down to Errani's poor record against top-10 opponents.

With projected holds being low, using the Tier Two Rolling Projected Holds for triggers to lay either player on serve should work well.  Furthermore, both players have combined scores of over 105 when a break up so laying either player a break up is a move with positive long-term expectation.

The second women's semi final is between Serena Williams and Ana Ivanovic with Ivanovic looking to follow up her win in the Australian Open in January against the world number one, who has only lost one match on clay in the last 12 months.

Williams starts at 1.20 which looks a little generous to me, and with Ivanovic having a low projected hold as well as a high combined score when a break up - Williams has recovered a break lead an astonishing 77.% in the last 12 months - getting on Williams looks the play if the match situation allows us.  Certainly laying Ivanovic a break up, or on serve when a set up or in a deciding set, should work well, as long as Williams doesn't look injured.

Both of the top two in the world are short-priced in the men's event with Novak Djokovic taking on Milos Raonic first.  I feel Djokovic is short at 1.14 and for me that's a lay from the start with a view to backing him at a bigger price later on.  He has lost plenty of sets to players much worse than Raonic this year and this looks an excellent play.

Clearly the Serb should be favourite but I feel 1.25 is much more reasonable, especially with a small doubt over his wrist.  Raonic still has a high projected hold and also a decent break point 'clutch' score to go with it (mainly due to Djokovic's inability to convert his expected number of break points) and laying Djokovic when he's winning on the Raonic serve at points indicated in the TennisRatings Trading Handbook should be a good plan too.

Finally Rafael Nadal (1.27) faces Grigor Dimitrov with the Spaniard a touch of value based on the stats.  That's unsurprising considering he has faced more adversity than usual this week and doesn't look like he's playing close to his level - although as I have previously mentioned this isn't a big drop-off statistically from 2013.  

I'd be very surprised if Nadal lost, although it wouldn't be a shock to see him trade a fair bit higher.  Stats fall just short of recommending laying Dimitrov a break up - he's got a combined score of 74.9.  That would indicate it's a touch short of my requirements, but is clearly a move of some positive expectation.

Good luck in the markets and there will be more tomorrow!


Rafael Nadal vs Andy Murray is the neutrals match of the day today...

Today I will give my concise thoughts on the quarter final matches in Rome, for trading purposes.  Obviously, as always, in all cases there is statistical reasoning for my thoughts and all of those statistics can be found in today's Tier Two Daily Spreadsheet.

Action gets underway in around 20 minutes, at 11am UK time, with Milos Raonic (1.35) taking on Jeremy Chardy in the ATP event.

As you might imagine projected holds for this match are high with both players having relatively limited return games.  Raonic in particular has a projected hold that is very high indeed, and both have a decent break point 'clutch' score too, so should be fairly solid at break points on their own serve.

The upshot of this is that both players can be backed on serve when losing their service game, at points illustrated in the TennisRatings Trading Handbook, and that appears to be the best statistical trading avenue for this match.

Next up in the men's tournament is Tommy Haas against Grigor Dimitrov with the Bulgarian statistically a touch short at 1.50 for this.  That's probably due to market caution over Haas' dodgy shoulder, although he hasn't appeared to have a big issue with it this week.

Projected holds are high but compared to Raonic vs Chardy, both players may struggle to win as many key points, based on the stats, so I wouldn't recommend the same course of action.  

In fact, unless the game state recommends any trades in-play, this is probably a game best watched.

The lowest projected holds today are in the match between David Ferrer and Novak Djokovic and that's no surprise with the two players breaking 37.6% and 33.2% on clay in the last 12 months, respectively.  

The Serb starts as 1.36 favourite which looks short based on projected holds, but big in every other way, and with adjustments factored in, my model produced a similar price.  He leads the head to head records 14-5, and 7-0 (plus only dropping one set) since 2012.  

With Ferrer losing a break lead 34.9% in the last 12 months, and Djokovic recovering a break deficit 44.0%, the combined score of 78.9 is big enough to warrant laying Ferrer a break up, and this seems to be the best plan pre-match here.

Finally Rafael Nadal's travails this week - dropping a set to both Gilles Simon and Mikhail Youzhny - have led to an inflated price against Andy Murray.  The Spaniard starts at 1.25, and despite stats indicating he has declined in 2014 - I have written about this for Pinnacle Sports - it's only by around 4-5% on combined hold/break stats, and against Murray on the Scotsman's worst surface this is a big price.  

Nadal's projected hold is well above that of Murray, whose is low enough to warrant laying his serve when the match is on serve when the price is viable.  Another trading angle is backing Nadal when losing on serve, similar to Raonic/Chardy, as his break point 'clutch' score is also high.

Laying either player a break up comes marginally below the 75 required combined score so whilst this move has some positive expectation, it's not enough to make this trade viable on it's own.  With the pre-match value on Nadal, and a combined score of 74.8 on Murray, if you are going to perform this trade, it's much better when Murray is a break up.

In the women's event, Sara Errani needs to defy a 6-0 head to head deficit to beat Li Na, who starts at 1.25.  That's probably a touch short on the Italian's favourite surface and the stats - with combined scores of 119.0 on Errani and 109.6 on Li - indicate laying either player a break up should be a long term strategy with positive expectation.

Spanish clay-courter Carla Suarez Navarro isn't without a chance against Ana Ivanovic, with the Serb starting at 1.53 on what is arguably her best surface as well.  I made Ivanovic marginally bigger at 1.60, but Suarez Navarro tends to do her best work as favourite, against those worse than her.

Projected holds are low for this with Suarez Navarro breaking opponents 49.8% on clay in the last year, and Ivanovic 44.1% - well above the WTA mean of 38.5%.  This means that the Rolling Projected Hold triggers on today's Tier Two daily spreadsheet show that opposing either player's serve in some circumstances is a move with high positive expectation.

Also, with Ivanovic strong when a break down (59.1% deficit recovery), laying Suarez Navarro when a break up looks a good strategy.

Third match on the WTA schedule is an even-looking match between Jelena Jankovic and Agnieszka Radwanska with the Pole starting at 1.76.  If it wasn't for Radwanska taking all five head to head meetings since 2011, the 2.35 on Jankovic would look very attractive indeed, and she isn't without a chance today.

Rolling Projected Hold triggers indicate that Radwanska's serve in particular can be opposed in select circumstances when the set is on serve, but with Radwanska excellent when a break down, it's Jankovic that is more vulnerable when a break up.

Finally it would take a shock of epic proportions for Serena Williams (1.06) to get knocked out by Shuai Zhang.  The Chinese has unimpressive 57.1% holds/38.9% breaks on clay stats in the last 12 months and my model made the world number one 1.02 for this.  

In the unlikely event that the Chinese player is winning and the price is big enough on Williams, then getting on Williams is mandatory - with the obvious caveat if she doesn't look injured!

Good luck in the markets and there will be more tomorrow!


David Ferrer has a poor record for dropping sets when a very heavy favourite...

Today I will give my concise thoughts on a number of the matches in Madrid, for trading purposes.  Obviously, as always, in all cases there is statistical reasoning for my thoughts and all of those statistics can be found in today's Tier Two Daily Spreadsheet.

Much of the trading value is in WTA matches today so they will take the main focus...

Firstly, in ATP action, I like laying David Ferrer pre-match at around 1.08 with a view to backing him later.  He's no value at that price and has a propensity to drop sets at short prices to very inferior opponents (he's only won 12/23 in straight sets priced <1.20 in the last 12 months, which is well below expectation for that price range).

Furthermore, the Spaniard has a high combined score - a weak serve and opponent Mikhail Kukushkin also having an excellent record recovering break deficits sees to that - and laying Ferrer at very short prices when a break up also appeals.

Novak Djokovic has some injury doubts but even at half fitness I'd expect him to be able to dispose of Radek Stepanek on clay.  Stats indicate Stepanek can be opposed when leading but that all depends on the fitness of the Serb world number two.

Finally, for the men, the clay-hating and out of form Dmitry Tursunov can also be opposed a break up against the rapidly improving Spaniard Roberto Bautista-Agut who impresses by the week.

There are 11 matches on the WTA schedule today also, and these provide far more options.

Italian clay-courter Sara Errani starts at 1.20 against Chanelle Scheepers, who also rates clay as her best surface.  The South African has decent stats and could keep this closer than the prices suggest.

Both players are better on return than serve, and this should lead to many breaks of serve, with projected holds both low.  Scheepers can also be laid a break up.

Camila Giorgi has definitely improved this year but still has consistency issues, but is a player of potential.  Clay is definitely opponent Dominika Cibulkova's worst surface but she is still a justified favourite here, and the 1.57 about her looks pretty attractive.

Both players have had issues holding serve on the surface in the last year and this leads to low projected holds, particularly on the part of Giorgi.  With pre-match value likely to be on Cibulkova, laying Giorgi's serve when the sets are on serve and the price is viable looks a solid plan.  Laying Giorgi a break up also looks good.

I'd be surprised if Mona Barthel got past the Spanish clay-courter Carla Suarez Navarro but the market has taken CSN's superb record as favourite into account and she starts at 1.29 here.  Opposing Barthel a break up looks a good plan statistically and logically, with the German being highly inconsistent and impatient.

Clay is definitely a bit of a leveller between Angelique Kerber (1.55) and Petra Cetkovska.  Projected holds are close and I can see Cetkovska forcing Kerber's price to trade higher but eventually the German taking the win.  Backing that up is a high combined score on Cetkovska, indicating she can be laid a break up.

Finally, I like Roberta Vinci at around 1.60 against Ekaterina Makarova with clay highly favouring the Italian in this match-up.  Opposing the Makarova serve when the Rolling Projected Hold triggers indicate should be a move with high positive expectation.

Good luck in the markets and there will be more tomorrow!


Filippo Volandri statistically has the worst serve on the ATP Tour...

I had some appointments this morning so a bit of a late preview, which will focus on what interests me in the remaining matches from 2pm UK time.

Rome ATP last year had service holds 2.3% above ATP clay mean with the WTA having 3.9% below surface average.  This discrepancy between tours isn't as uncommon as might be expected, but of course there is no doubt that conditions here won't play as fast as Madrid last week.

Out of the five ATP matches remaining today, Fabio Fognini (1.36) takes on Lukas Rosol and this looks fairly well priced to me.  Rosol's projected hold is low and today's Tier Two Spreadsheet indicates his serve can be laid in select opportunities based on the Rolling Projected Hold percentages.  Stats also indicate the Czech can be laid a break up here.

Filippo Volandri (above, pictured) has the worst serve on the tour.  That's not opinion, that's fact - backed up by the stats which show him holding a mere 56.5% on his favoured clay at ATP level in the last year (19% below tour average) and also by him losing a break lead an incredible 65.2% of the time.  That stat would make him one of the worst in the WTA, let alone in the men's game!

Projected holds are unsurprisingly low for his match with Gilles Simon (1.44) and despite being in poor form I'd be highly surprised if the Frenchman didn't win this - opposing Volandri's serve when the match is on serve and the price is viable is a good strategy as is laying him a break up, which is mandatory.

I also like backing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (1.80) when losing on serve against Alexandr Dolgopolov, at points recommended in the TennisRatings Trading Handbook.  He looks to be of some pre-match value, and his projected hold and break point 'clutch' score are both high.

I'll go through what appeals to me in the remaining women's matches now - Francesca Schiavone'sprojected hold is low against Eugenie Bouchard (1.25) and I like opposing the Italian veteran's serve when the match is on serve.  Laying Schiavone a break up also has some positive expected value, although it's not huge.

Tsvetana Pironkova is almost allergic to clay and has a shocking recent record on the surface.  Today she takes on Petra Cetkovska (1.33) who is much more adept on the dirt.  That price is probably of some value on Cetkovska and Pironkova's projected hold is low.  Laying her serve when possible works for me.

I also like this move with another WTA regular that isn't hugely comfortable on clay - Magdalena Rybarikova - who takes on Casey Dellacqua in a match where both are priced around evens.  Clay isn't the Australian's best surface either though and neither have good surface stats, but what I have indicates Rybarikova's serve can be opposed when the match is on serve. 

The final match of the day is a strange one between Yvonne Meusburger and Flavia Pennetta.  The Italian starts as a heavy 1.24 favourite which seems very short with her not having the best recent record on clay.  Meusburger's stats are very impressive over the last 12 months but it's worth noting her best work was done last season, as opposed to this.  She gave Carla Suarez Navarro a tough match last week in Madrid, however.

Projected holds are both low here and I like laying Pennetta pre-match with a view to backing her at a bigger price later on.  What worries me a little is Meusburger's poor record when a heavy underdog but this play should be one with positive expectation.

Good luck in the markets and there will be more tomorrow!


Serena Williams has lost just one set to Petra Kvitova in her career...

With the lack of a suitable candidate for match of the day, I thought I'd give a quick run-down of my thoughts on all the Madrid quarter-finals today...

Women's action gets started first, in around an hour, and Serena Williams (1.18) takes on Petra Kvitova in the opener.  Kvitova has taken just one set from the US world number one in five head to head matches and Williams has a superb record of taking these type of matches in straight sets.  

Should Williams fall behind by a break, Kvitova can be laid, and should the price become viable, laying Kvitova's serve on serve is also recommended.

Maria Sharapova has much better clay stats than Li Na and starts at 1.60, which may well be a touch of value.  She has also got a 9-5 head to head lead, and a significant projected hold advantage, although both are above average.  With a low break point 'clutch' score however, I don't like backing Sharapova when losing on serve, in-game.

Simona Halep is also a touch of value at 2.15 against Ana Ivanovic according to my hold/break surface stats and this is probably due to Ivanovic's recent win over the Romanian in the Fed Cup several weeks ago.  I feel like being on Halep here is the way forward but it's tough to come up with any hugely significant trading avenues.

Finally for the WTA, Caroline Garcia's match with Agnieszka Radwanska (1.32) looks well priced by the market with the young French player in very good form.  She still has a lot to prove to me but yesterday's win over Sara Errani was a strong result.  Garcia's game style will usually lead to high projected holds and that's the case here.  Both players also have a high break point 'clutch' score, so backing either player when losing on serve in-game at points recommended in the TennisRatings Trading Handbook can be considered.

ATP matches start at 2pm UK time and Tomas Berdych has the unenviable task of trying to turn around an 18-3 head to head deficit over Rafael Nadal.  The Spaniard starts at 1.17 which is perhaps even a touch on the generous side.  Berdych has a low projected hold here and the Rolling Projected Hold triggers show his serve can be opposed when the match is on serve, when the price is viable (almost certainly if he was a set up or in a deciding set).  Quite interestingly, break-back stats show Berdych loses a break lead less and recovers a break deficit more than Nadal, and this actually takes Nadal's combined score to 78.0 - above the required 75 in the ATP for laying a player a break up - so this could lead to some low-risk opportunities to lay Nadal at very low prices when a break up here.

Both Roberto Bautista-Agut and Santiago Giraldo are in excellent form and Bautista-Agut starts favourite for their match at around 1.83.  This represents very slight value on him with him edging two projected holds around the ATP average.  There's not much to recommend here though regarding trading options.

David Ferrer (1.48) is priced about right against Ernests Gulbis and again, not much to recommend here.  It wouldn't surprise me if Ferrer traded a fair bit higher at least but that's just a gut feeling as opposed to a statistical play.

Finally Kei Nishikori (1.17) faces Feliciano Lopez.  The Japanese looks very strong on clay currently and deserves to be heavy favourite.  Laying Lopez's serve can be done on serve in very select circumstances (if he's struggling to hold, he is a fair bit shorter than SP) but he's solid enough not to want to lay him when a break up.

Good luck in the markets and there will be more tomorrow!


Andy Murray has a very poor record on clay...

Today's Match of the Day again comes from the ATP Masters event in Madrid, which gets underway at 10:00am GMT.  It features a player whose career record on clay isn't strong, and may well lack match fitness...

TennisRatings Match of the Day:-

ATP Madrid Round of 32:-
19:00 GMT
Nicolas Almagro vs Andy Murray:-

12 Month Surface W/L *  21-11  10-6
12 Month Surface Hold % *    82.6   75.9
12 Month Surface Break % *    26.1   29.7
Pre-Match Projected Hold %    81.7   78.6
Loses Break Lead %    32.1   21.1
Recovers Break Deficit %    35.7   50.0
Combined Score when Break Up    82.1   56.8
Current Price2.011.92

* Murray's stats are 24 month due to small 12 month sample size.

This is a fascinating match-up for so many reasons.  Murray has a 3-1 head to head lead but Almagro's solitary win was in their only match on clay, in the French Open all the way back in 2008.  However the Spaniard was still the lower ranked player then so it has some relevance, albeit a little limited.

Murray hasn't been seen on court since his Davis Cup defeat against Fabio Fognini, also on clay.  I feel this is a similar match-up, against a 'second tier' opponent more comfortable on clay and at home in their country.  Furthermore, Almagro's combined clay hold/break percentage (108.7) is very similar to Fognini's (107.6).

This is higher than Murray's two-year clay percentage of 105.6 and his career clay percentage of 107.4 and it's worth noting that Almagro's 68% win percentage on the surface is also higher than Murray's 60%.  This may be a little skewed on the basis that Almagro plays some low-level clay 250s which Murray tends not to, but even so, there seems little evidence to suggest Murray should be favourite here.  

There is no doubt the market over-rates Murray on clay.  If you'd have backed him in every clay match since January 2012 you'd have accumulated a £494 loss for £100 level stakes (-27.4% ROI) which is even worse than his awful career ROI of -16.1%.

Almagro's win over Nadal in Barcelona should give him confidence against elite level opponents although his win over Andrey Golubev in the last round was not exactly inspiring...

On a fast clay court, projected holds are a little on the high side.  With break point 'clutch' scores around average, there isn't a huge edge there.  

With regards to opposing Almagro a break up, as the combined score (across all surfaces) of 82.1 illustrates should be viable, this is a little more risky than average, due to fast court conditions, the fact that I believe he represents a little pre-match value, and also Murray's general rustiness and aversion to clay.  

Murray's break-back stats will be derived mainly away from clay and with it being his worst surface it's reasonable to assume his deficit recovery percentage might not be quite as high on clay as on other surfaces.  However, laying Almagro at low prices a break up isn't going to be a move with negative expectation (he also got broken at *4-3 in the final set and went 15-40 down serving for the match against Nadal), and this is probably the best trading line for this, on a day where trading options aren't hugely plentiful across the schedule.

Good luck in the markets and there will be more tomorrow!


Juan Monaco is at a challenging point in his career - but still has excellent break deficit recovery stats...

Today's Match of the Day comes from the ATP Masters event in Madrid, which gets underway at 10:00am GMT.  Match of the Day features two players better on return than on serve, with one player in particular in a bad spot in their career...

TennisRatings Match of the Day:-

ATP Madrid Round of 56:-
11:30 GMT
Jurgen Melzer vs Juan Monaco:-

12 Month Surface W/L      3-8   17-12
12 Month Surface Hold %    68.5    75.1
12 Month Surface Break %   20.2    31.8
Pre-Match Projected Hold %   61.2    79.4
Loses Break Lead %   42.3    37.5
Recovers Break Deficit %   35.6    50.8
Combined Score when Break Up   93.7    73.1
Current Price2.341.70

This is such a fascinating match-up it was a natural Match of the Day - so interesting to analyse.

What is also slightly relevant to the above stats is the 6-1 head to head lead Monaco enjoys over Melzer, but only one of those matches was after 2010, so it's not particularly recent, and is much less relevant than if those 7 matches were all in the last couple of years.

Based on the numbers above, Monaco would be great value at 1.70 but this is where further factors need to be taken into account.  Both players have had injury absences in 2014 but Melzer has returned in a little better shape than Monaco, who has won just 4/14 in 2014, and had a shocking defeat to Donald Young in Houston last time out, which worryingly for his backers, was a month ago - he hasn't been seen since.

However, as we can see from the stats, Melzer's projected hold is very low, and his clay record is poor.  With Monaco's strength being his return game, even if he wasn't close to fitness, Melzer's projected hold is low enough to warrant opposition on his serve based on the Rolling Projected Holds in today's Tier Two Spreadsheet.

The Austrian is not solid when a break in front either, losing this lead 42.3% of the time (over 10% above the ATP mean) and with Monaco recovering break deficits a superb 50.8% in the last 12 months (this stat has stayed pretty constant despite his issues) laying Melzer when a break up does still appeal.  

I feel that I want to get Monaco onside a little but it would be tough to commit to him winning this match.  If he was fit and playing reasonably well, a price of 1.30-1.35 would be much fairer but this isn't the case, and game state will play a vital role here - if Melzer is holding fairly easily, we can ease off from this favouring of the Argentine.

In other matches, Kevin Anderson was a large opening price against the clay-hating Radek Stepanek, who has held just 74.8% and broken 19.8% in the last 12 months on the surface.  

Despite a reputation for being averse to the dirt himself, the South African has solid surface stats (85.1% holds and 19.7% breaks) and he should have too much here.  Stepanek has lost a break lead a horrific 50.9% in the last 12 months, which is one of the worst on the ATP Tour, and considering he is a 'big server', Anderson's break deficit recovery percentage of 30.0% isn't bad at all.  A combined score of 80.9 is more than enough to warrant laying the Czech veteran a break up.

A match which could be swingy - particularly if the Italian leads - is Fabio Fognini against Alexandr Dolgopolov.  Fognini capitulated in the Munich final on Sunday against Martin Klizan and market movement suggests he may have a big problem - he's drifted from a seemingly fair 1.56 to 2.20.  

Fognini has, however, shown an aptitude for playing well the week after finals in the last year, so if he's in reasonable shape this is a decent price.  Fognini loses a break lead 43.2%, which is incredibly high considering his ranking, and illustrates superbly how often he loses focus and concentration.

Good luck in the markets and there will be more tomorrow!


Both Benoit Paire and Gilles Simon can be opposed when a break up today...

Today's Match of the Day comes from the ATP Masters event in Madrid, which started yesterday.  It features two countrymen that both have huge issues defending break leads...

TennisRatings Match of the Day:-

ATP Madrid Round of 56:-
14:30 GMT
Benoit Paire vs Gilles Simon:-

12 Month Surface W/L 12-10 11-8
12 Month Surface Hold %   75.8  71.8
12 Month Surface Break %  25.0  29.6
Pre-Match Projected Hold %  75.0  75.6
Loses Break Lead %  43.4  40.8
Recovers Break Deficit %  40.7  38.2
Combined Score when Break Up  81.6  81.5
Current Price2.501.62

This match has the potential to be quite swingy - most matches involving these two players tend to be.

Simon starts as the 1.62 favourite which would be short if Paire didn't have fitness doubts surrounding him.  After 3 months out of action, the younger Frenchman is easing himself back into action still and has mentioned that he's not near 100% so far.  With those doubts taken into account, the price looks pretty fair - although it must be mentioned Simon isn't a hugely reliable player by any means.

Simon's clay stats illustrate how weak his serve is and how decent his return game is.  His surface hold percentage of 71.8% is 3.7% below ATP mean - for a top 30 player that's pretty atrocious.  However he breaks 29.6% of the time, 5.1% above average.  Paire's stats are around average in both departments.  

With the conditions likely to be quick in Madrid, projected holds are around average, similar to the Errani vs Petkovic preview on Saturday.  On an 'average' court, they'd be low, and we could consider opposing either player when the match is on serve.

Also as Errani vs Petkovic, the long-term edge comes from opposing either player a break up.

Both players have lost a break lead over 40% of the time (over 8% more than top 100 average), which is very poor indeed considering their ranking and shows that they lack mental focus, self-belief and a consistently decent serve.  With both players more than able to recover break deficits, this is an easy positive expectation trade, and is the recommended line here.

In other matches today,  Andreas Seppi is another that struggles to hold onto a break lead and he's underdog against Fernando Verdasco (1.37).  The Italian has lost a break lead a whopping 47.7% of the time and with Verdasco's deficit recovery around average, Seppi can be laid a break up in this.  His matches tend to be very swingy.

In the WTA, Alize Cornet is excellent at recovering break deficits (67.0%) and against a potentially tired Svetlana Kuznetsova (1.89), who collapsed from a double break 4-1 lead over Carla Suarez Navarro in the final of Oeiras on Sunday, she can be backed when a break down.  

This trade can also be performed if Simona Halep finds herself a break down against Julia Goerges.  I make clay Halep's best surface and she's a touch of value at around 1.27 against the inconsistent German.  Halep (63.3%) is also superb at recovering break deficits.

Good luck in the markets and there will be more tomorrow!


Andrea Petkovic's match with Sara Errani has the potential to be very swingy...

Today's Match of the Day comes from the WTA Premier event in Madrid, which starts today.  It features two players that both have strong clay stats, but are stronger on return than serve...

TennisRatings Match of the Day:-

WTA Madrid Round of 64:-
18:00 GMT
Andrea Petkovic vs Sara Errani:-

12 Month Surface W/L       10-4  20-7
12 Month Surface Hold %       69.5  61.2
12 Month Surface Break %      43.1  49.4
Pre-Match Projected Hold %      63.4  61.4
Loses Break Lead %      46.2  53.9
Recovers Break Deficit %      58.8  63.9
Combined Score when Break Up    110.1112.7
Current Price1.932.00

This match is a fantastic illustration of what to expect in Madrid next week.

The WTA event starts early, on Saturday, with the ATP event starting on Sunday.  Both events are highly likely to have quick conditions, with the ATP event having 4.3% service holds more than the clay mean, with the WTA 4.8% more last year.

With this taken into account, projected holds - even for these two players that have excellent return stats (and in the case of Errani, particularly weak hold stats) - are around the WTA mean.  On a normal surface, both would be below and in the case of Errani, would advocate opposition of her serve in some circumstances.  On a slow court, both would be opposable.

However, this is not viable today with the conditions assisting servers, and it's definitely going to be a week where opposing servers should be done in very select circumstances.

Where I do feel there is an angle still is laying players a break up.  Both players have combined scores well over the 105 required in the WTA, and it's interesting to see that my latest stats today have the mean WTA combined score dropping to 95.96 which is several percent below previous months.  What that may mean is that combined score requirements may be able to be decreased a little, and these players combined scores of over 110 are definitely big enough to warrant laying the player a break up.

Market prices look fairly reasonable - my model priced Petkovic at 1.84 - and this is a match I'm greatly looking forward to today.  

Good luck in the markets and there will be more tomorrow!


Irina Begu has consistently struggled to maintain a break lead...

Today's Match of the Day comes from the WTA event in Oeiras, featuring two players more comfortable on the clay but with one player in particular likely to struggle when a break up...

TennisRatings Match of the Day:-

WTA Oeiras Semi-Final:-
12:00 GMT
Carla Suarez Navarro vs Irina Begu:-

12 Month Surface W/L     17-6   7-5
12 Month Surface Hold %     68.4  60.9
12 Month Surface Break %    45.6  43.6
Pre-Match Projected Hold %    64.7  56.5
Loses Break Lead %    47.2  60.6
Recovers Break Deficit %    46.7  43.2
Combined Score when Break Up    90.5 107.4
Current Price1.205.41

On a day where trading opportunities aren't plentiful, this match looks to have some positive opportunities for traders to get involved, if the game state allows.

Despite her current ranking of 117, we can see that Irina Begu has a positive win-loss record on clay as well as a combined hold/break percentage of over 100.  On that basis it is not on clear that clay is her best surface - of that there is no doubt - but also that her stats indicate that on clay, she has the ability to play well above her ranking.

Having said this, Suarez Navarro starts at 1.20 for this clash.  My model priced the Spaniard up at 1.38 last night with the best market price being 1.29, so she's shortened overnight.  

However, it's difficult to oppose Suarez Navarro when heavy favourite though, as she's accumulated an extremely strong 24-2 record when priced 1.20-1.49 in the last 12 months, and a 57-11 record throughout her career in this odds range.  This effectively means that she is very consistent at beating players that are considered worse than her, and although Begu's stats are strong and well above her ranking, she is still the lower level player here.

Incredibly, Suarez Navarro has taken 23 of those 24 wins in the last year in straight sets, so laying her if she takes the first set at a very short price doesn't appeal, despite the low risk.

I feel the best avenue is to oppose Begu's serve when the game state allows.  Her projected hold of 56.5% is 5% below the WTA mean, and her combined score of 107.4 when a break up is not only above the 105 required by my research to lay a player a break up in the WTA but also 11.4 above the 96.0 average WTA combined score.

Begu's price is too high to oppose her serve from the off, but should she lead by a break, this gives us a strong entry point.  If she was to take the first set, our options also significantly increase for opposing her.

In other matches today, projected holds are low in the ATP all-Spanish clash in Oeiras between Daniel Gimeno-Traver and Marcel Granollers with Granollers a little short at around 1.68.  However, both players are awful at recovering break deficits at 27.0% and 25.4% respectively, so laying the player a break up cannot be recommended.  

This is not the case for Leonardo Mayer as he faces Tomas Berdych.  The Czech has really improved his stats this season despite perhaps not having the results to justify that but he is the tournament top seed and favourite, and has an elite-level 54.1% break deficit recovery percentage.  When taking into account Mayer's 36.8% break lead loss percentage, a combined score of 90.9 on Mayer when a break up is huge, and the Argentine should be opposed when a break up in this.

Finally, after getting back from holiday, I've updated the latest break-back stats and tips results.  You can check these out via the menus at the top of the page, or via the main home page links.

Good luck in the markets and there will be more tomorrow!


Carlos Berlocq should get some joy on the Lukasz Kubot serve today...

Today's Match of the Day comes from the ATP event in Oeiras, featuring two players whose service holds are below the ATP mean.

TennisRatings Match of the Day:-

ATP Oeiras Round of 16:-
17:00 GMT
Lukasz Kubot vs Carlos Berlocq:-

12 Month Surface W/L      2-5  14-11
12 Month Surface Hold %    64.5   73.9
12 Month Surface Break %   26.6   33.4
Pre-Match Projected Hold %   53.1   69.3
Loses Break Lead %   44.8   34.1
Recovers Break Deficit %   28.6   32.1
Combined Score when Break Up   76.9   62.7
Current Price3.691.34

Firstly apologies for no updates for the last few days - I have been away in Mexico since the 19th April and just arrived back in the UK yesterday afternoon, and with the sun (and my wife) enticing me away from my laptop, some days I focused solely on my subscribers as opposed to doing match previews.

The stats above indicate that this should be a match where breaks of serve are plentiful.

Both players - correctly priced by the market according to my model - have surface holds below the current ATP clay mean of 75.5%, and break their opponents more than the 24.5% average.  

As would be logical, projected holds are therefore low and Kubot's in particular is very low indeed - he should have real problems holding consistently.

The Rolling Projected Holds in today's Tier Two Daily Spreadsheet indicate that Kubot's serve can be laid in ALL circumstances when the match is on serve and the price makes this trade viable.  Should Berlocq have difficulty holding, he can also be opposed when the match is on serve too.

Backing up the fact that Kubot is likely to struggle to hold are the break-back percentage stats.  These illustrate that Kubot has a combined score of 76.9 when a break up - above the critical 75 that makes laying a player a break up viable in the ATP, so laying Kubot a break up should have a positive long-term expectation. 

This is mainly due to his very poor break loss percentage of 44.8%, which is 12.5% above the current ATP top 100 mean.  Berlocq's break deficit recovery is very slightly below average.

Overall, the main focus in this match should be the opposition of Kubot's serve whenever realistically possible.  

Other ATP matches where there could be breaks today include Guillermo Garcia-Lopez vs Gastao Elias and Andrey Golubev against Leonardo Mayer.

From the limited stats I have on Elias and Golubev, both have struggled to hold serve on clay at ATP level.

In WTA action, the same applies to Timea Bacsinszky.  After shocking Sam Stosur and getting past Ons Jabeur so far, she faces Irina Begu in the Oeiras quarter finals today.  

Projected holds generally are very low for this indeed and whilst I don't have in-play stats on Bacsinszky due to her low ranking, I do on Begu and her break lead loss percentage of 72.7% is one of the worst in the WTA.  It would be highly likely that laying Begu a break up would be a positive play.

Good luck in the markets and there will be more tomorrow!