Tennis Trading - Profiling player performance late in sets


2nd March, 2018.


Choking in sport is something which is often discussed among fans and pundits alike - not to mention bettors and traders - and Tennis is no different.  A quick check of social media on a daily basis shows players being called out for choking (among other things), but it's often difficult to assess whether a player has choked due to mental pressure, or simply due to inconsistencies in their skill-set.

Sports traders shouldn't necessarily worry about the reasoning for a player choking, but are likely to be more interested in being able to predict it's likelihood of occurring in advance, or at least, being able to do so better than the general markets do.

The Pressure Point daily spreadsheets that I provide enable users to do just this.  Focusing on player performance (break lead retention and break deficit recovery) when players are a single break up or down at *4-2 or later in the set, they illustrate these player abilities for in excess of 100 players on each tour.  

Raw numbers from these are interesting enough - removing several players with small sample sizes, here are the worst ten performers on the ATP Tour for losing break leads from *4-2 or later in sets:-

Player

Set 1, Single Break Leads at *4-2 or later



Set 2 (Set & Break), Single Break Leads at *4-2 or later



Set 3, Single Break Leads at *4-2 or later



Sets 2&3  Combined%

All Sets Combined%


Loses to go back on Serve



Loses to go back on Serve



Loses to go back on Serve






Yes

No

%

Yes

No

%

Yes

No

%



1/1/16 to 26/2/18

544

1765

23.56

317

1195

20.97

214

697

23.49

21.91

22.72













Marchenko

8

6

57.14

1

3

25.00

2

1

66.67

42.86

52.38

Kukushkin

7

8

46.67

1

4

20.00

2


100.00

42.86

45.45

Robert

6

7

46.15

2

2

50.00

1

2

33.33

42.86

45.00

Elias

3

5

37.50

4

4

50.00

1

3

25.00

41.67

40.00

Melzer G

5

6

45.45

1

2

33.33

1

3

25.00

28.57

38.89

Millman

5

3

62.50


1

0.00

2

7

22.22

20.00

38.89

Darcis

4

10

28.57

3

4

42.86

2

1

66.67

50.00

37.50

Olivo

3

3

50.00

1

5

16.67

2

2

50.00

30.00

37.50

Delbonis

8

8

50.00

2

8

20.00

3

6

33.33

26.32

37.14

Lorenzi

10

19

34.48

8

9

47.06

2

7

22.22

38.46

36.36

Paire

10

25

28.57

10

18

35.71

7

7

50.00

40.48

35.06


These eleven players have performed considerably worse than the average player, losing leads in excess of 35% across all sets, compared to the Tour mean (for players covered in these sheets) of 22.72%, and generate something of a shortlist of players who have been extremely vulnerable in tight, pressure situations, when leading in sets.

The best players for recovery at the business ends of sets also makes for interesting analysis:-

Player

Losing Situations

Set 1, Single Break Deficits at *4-2 or later



Set 2 (Set & Break), Single Break Deficits at *4-2 or later



Set 3, Single Break Deficits at *4-2 or later



Sets 2&3  Combined%

All Sets Combined%



Recovers to go back on Serve



Recovers to go back on Serve



Recovers to go back on Serve







Yes

No

%

Yes

No

%

Yes

No

%



1/1/16 to 26/2/18

4334

558

1618

25.64

304

1023

22.91

195

636

23.47

23.12

24.39














Schwartzman

54

13

11

54.17

8

10

44.44

4

8

33.33

40.00

46.30

Murray

22

4

5

44.44

2

3

40.00

4

4

50.00

46.15

45.45

De Schepper

18

2

6

25.00

5

2

71.43

1

2

33.33

60.00

44.44

Monfils

33

8

11

42.11

4

4

50.00

2

4

33.33

42.86

42.42

Cervantes

30

8

6

57.14

3

11

21.43

1

1

50.00

25.00

40.00

Daniel

20

6

5

54.55

1

2

33.33

1

5

16.67

22.22

40.00

Djokovic

20

3

8

27.27

4

3

57.14

1

1

50.00

55.56

40.00

Bellucci

41

11

12

47.83

5

5

50.00


8

0.00

27.78

39.02

Rublev

31

9

11

45.00

2

6

25.00

1

2

33.33

27.27

38.71

Tsonga

31

5

9

35.71

3

5

37.50

4

5

44.44

41.18

38.71

Fognini

52

12

18

40.00

2

8

20.00

6

6

50.00

36.36

38.46

Goffin

71

15

22

40.54

9

14

39.13

3

8

27.27

35.29

38.03


There's a real mix here of top players, and return-orientated clay-courters in the main, and again, these players boast numbers considerably better than the Tour mean (for players covered in these sheets) of 24.39%.

The WTA data was also very interesting, with a number of players losing a single break lead more than 45% - much more than the Tour mean (for players covered in these sheets) of 33.13%:-


Player

Leading Situations

Set 1, Single Break Leads at *4-2 or later



Set 2 (Set & Break), Single Break Leads at *4-2 or later



Set 3, Single Break Leads at *4-2 or later



Sets 2&3  Combined%

All Sets Combined%



Loses to go back on Serve



Loses to go back on Serve



Loses to go back on Serve







Yes

No

%

Yes

No

%

Yes

No

%



1/1/16 to 26/2/18

6991

1240

2297

35.06

636

1582

28.67

440

796

35.60

31.15

33.13














Erakovic

18

4

3

57.14

1

1

50.00

6

3

66.67

63.64

61.11

Rodina

34

11

5

68.75

6

7

46.15

3

2

60.00

50.00

58.82

Golubic

46

16

11

59.26

4

4

50.00

6

5

54.55

52.63

56.52

Soler-Espinosa

16

2

4

33.33

4

2

66.67

3

1

75.00

70.00

56.25

Errani

65

22

16

57.89

8

10

44.44

5

4

55.56

48.15

53.85

McHale

75

23

20

53.49

9

9

50.00

7

7

50.00

50.00

52.00

Witthoeft

55

17

13

56.67

7

10

41.18

3

5

37.50

40.00

49.09

Bondarenko

45

9

11

45.00

7

6

53.85

6

6

50.00

52.00

48.89

Hsieh

38

10

7

58.82

4

6

40.00

4

7

36.36

38.10

47.37

Buzarnescu

15

5

3

62.50

1

5

16.67

1


100.00

28.57

46.67

Cepelova

26

6

10

37.50

3

2

60.00

3

2

60.00

60.00

46.15

Hercog

26

8

7

53.33

3

5

37.50

1

2

33.33

36.36

46.15

Vekic

44

14

12

53.85

2

9

18.18

4

3

57.14

33.33

45.45


The names on this list probably wouldn't surprise many people - for the most part, they are not particularly highly ranked and many of these players also have mediocre all-surface service hold percentages as well.

However, the list of players with greater than a 45% break deficit recovery percentage was something of a mixed bag, with numerous top players included, but also some lower-profile names as well:-

Player

Losing Situations

Set 1, Single Break Deficits at *4-2 or later



Set 2 (Set & Break), Single Break Deficits at *4-2 or later



Set 3, Single Break Deficits at *4-2 or later



Sets 2&3  Combined%

All Sets Combined%



Recovers to go back on Serve



Recovers to go back on Serve



Recovers to go back on Serve







Yes

No

%

Yes

No

%

Yes

No

%



1/1/16 to 26/2/18

6401

1205

2075

36.74

587

1372

29.96

436

726

37.52

32.78

34.81














Williams V

50

25

13

65.79

2

5

28.57

2

3

40.00

33.33

58.00

Vondrousova

18

4

3

57.14

5

3

62.50

1

2

33.33

54.55

55.56

Sharapova

24

10

5

66.67

1

2

33.33

2

4

33.33

33.33

54.17

Williams S

15

6

5

54.55

1

2

33.33

1


100.00

50.00

53.33

Niculescu

63

15

19

44.12

8

6

57.14

9

6

60.00

58.62

50.79

Siegemund

48

10

13

43.48

9

6

60.00

5

5

50.00

56.00

50.00

Halep

56

17

15

53.13

7

7

50.00

4

6

40.00

45.83

50.00

Errani

59

17

13

56.67

7

15

31.82

5

2

71.43

41.38

49.15

Lisicki

54

14

12

53.85

7

10

41.18

5

6

45.45

42.86

48.15

Rybarikova

21

5

8

38.46

2

2

50.00

3

1

75.00

62.50

47.62

Kvitova

55

11

18

37.93

10

6

62.50

5

5

50.00

57.69

47.27

Beck

51

15

14

51.72

7

12

36.84

2

1

66.67

40.91

47.06

Wozniacki

96

29

30

49.15

9

12

42.86

6

10

37.50

40.54

45.83

Keys

48

17

14

54.84

4

8

33.33

1

4

20.00

29.41

45.83

Muguruza

53

15

13

53.57

4

9

30.77

5

7

41.67

36.00

45.28


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