April 24th, 2017.
From the start of the 2017, I began including details of vulnerable front-runners, where relevant, in the ATP and WTA daily spreadsheets notes column.
Without giving out too much information on the criteria I use for identifying these players, I can use similar historical match-ups (not necessarily featuring either player) to determine the likelihood of a future scenario occurring. An oft-used phrase is 'players are not robots', and while that is obviously a fair statement (although some probably have some metal in their bodies due to surgeries!), it is also fair to say that they do revert to type a great deal of the time too.
The table below indicates the results of these vulnerable front-runners in the ATP so far this season (at 23rd April, 2017) with match by match analysis available to download at the bottom of this article:-
These vulnerable front-runners lost a break lead to go back on serve just over 55% so far this season, and when you consider that the mean figure for the ATP is around 30%, it is clear that using historical match-ups to determine the likelihood of a future break-back occurring is a very strong strategy.
In particular, this worked best in set three (albeit from a smaller sample) where 29 of 40 leads were broken back, with the set and break spot (the situation which is most dominant in best of three set tennis) unsurprisingly the scenario where the lowest success was generated.
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