Trading Previews - February 2017

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17th February, 2017.

With WTA Doha still rain-affected, and matches rescheduled at short notice - I'm not entirely sure why they are obsessed with getting everything played by Saturday, given the players in the latter stages are unlikely to play WTA Dubai for several days - previews again will focus on the three ATP events this week.

ATP Rotterdam

Matches got underway several hours ago, and Tomas Berdych got the better of the defending champion, Martin Klizan, in a match I was surprised Berdych took so easily.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has just started his probable serve-orientated match against Marin Cilic, and the next match on the card - Grigor Dimitrov against David Goffin - is likely to be the least serve-orientated match in the Netherlands today, although it's worth noting that both players have projected hold percentages around average.  Goffin looks a touch of value at 3.20 against an opponent that the markets are absolutely in love with right now.

ATP Memphis

The match-ups in Memphis look to have more chances of breaks of serve and in-set swings, and the four matches there are for the night owls, with play commencing at 9pm UK time.

One of the biggest questions is when Nikoloz Basilashvili's insane run in the last fortnight will end, and his quarter-final against the mediocre (to be kind) Matt Ebden - who is on a relatively insane run himself to get to this stage - will provide a very unlikely semi-finalist.  It wouldn't be a huge shock if both players were unstable as a front-runner today.

When will Nikoloz Basilashvili's run end?

Three Americans are favoured by the markets to progress - John Isner (1.36) takes a fairly old 4-0 head to head lead into his clash with the inconsistent Donald Young, while Steve Johnson and Ryan Harrison are similarly priced against Mikhail Kukushkin and Damir Dzumhur, respectively.  My model agreed with all three prices.

ATP Buenos Aires

Action in Argentina starts at 5pm UK time, and I have previewed Albert Ramos vs Carreno-Busta for Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokers.  From a trading basis, I expect breaks of serve.

Gerald Melzer looks a little big at 2.70 against the flaky Alexandr Dolgopolov, while it would be a huge shock to see Kei Nishikori (1.21) ousted by Joao Sousa.  Sousa does look to be a very vulnerable front-runner in this match.

The match between Carlos Berlocq and Thiago Monteiro is of interest - although it is very late on the schedule - and if it wasn't for the Brazilian looking very poor at recovering break deficits, as I mentioned is commonplace for young players yesterday, I'd like this match much more from an in-set swing perspective.

Thiago Monteiro is similar to many young players in being poor at break deficit recovery...

16th February, 2017.

**It would be great to hear feedback/comments on these previews - please feel free to get in touch via Twitter, or via email.**

ATP Rotterdam

Today's matches are about to get underway, with Tomas Berdych soon to face Richard Gasquet in Rotterdam.  Priced around 2.30, Gasquet looks reasonable against an opponent in decline - on return at least - although Gasquet has played and travelled a fair bit of late.  

Other matches of interest in the Netherlands today include Robin Haase vs David Goffin (1.24), and I'd expect the Dutchman to be vulnerable in some spots today if he leads.  Certainly tiebreaks, which Haase has an atrocious record in anyway, look as good a situation as any, if he leads in it with this particular match dynamic.

Robin Haase has a terrible career record in tiebreaks...

Gilles Simon's match with Dominic Thiem looks to be the trading highlight here, with both players looking vulnerable on serve.  Thiem got stronger throughout yesterday's match against Alexander Zverev, and he is quoted as saying he enjoys conditions at this venue.  Keeping an eye on point by data looks as critical as ever in this particular match - Thiem was 4-0 down yesterday against Zverev in the first set, despite both players having break points in two return games each, and eventually the match reverted towards the mean.

ATP Buenos Aires

There are two main highlights in the Argentinian capital, with both Alexandr Dolgopolov and Pablo Cuevas looking to overturn indifferent starts to 2017 and reach the quarter-finals.  Cuevas (1.65) is the favourite, and this looks pretty big given his record and stats in the last couple of years on South American slow clay.

Certainly, the Uruguayan has magnificent deficit recovery stats, and against an opponent with poor lead retention data also, there are likely to be spots where opposing Dolgopolov if he leads.  

Pablo Cuevas can fight back from losing positions against Alexandr Dolgopolov tonight...

The other match I want to focus on here is David Ferrer (1.38) versus Carlos Berlocq.  Against a competent player who will enjoy home support, 2012-14 champion Ferrer looks a touch short, although not unduly so. Berlocq does have awful lead retention stats though, and Ferrer - as to be expected for a warrior, even a declining one - has superb deficit recovery data.  Given the fact that Berlocq has a projected hold of around 60% for this match, opposing the Argentine when leading can be considered in various spots today.

ATP Memphis

The most return orientated match is likely to be Mikhail Kukushkin versus Darian King, with the Barbadian, King, looking to build on his first round victory over Bernard Tomic.  Kukushkin got past the lucky loser, Benjamin Becker, last night after Dustin Brown again succumbed to injury.

King (2.76) isn't without a chance against a player who has shown very little in the last six months or so, and given Kukushkin's poor lead loss data, there may be opportunities to lay the Kazakh at short prices in-running.

Matt Ebden is another player who is usually vulnerable on serve/when leading, but he faces Taylor Fritz (1.46) who was runner-up here last year, and the young prospect, Fritz, is a player with poor deficit recovery data so far.  This dynamic is frequently the case for young players, as they are often weaker mentally than more seasoned campaigners, so it should be an area that Fritz is looking to improve in.

I have previewed Ivo Karlovic's match against Nikoloz Basilashvili for Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokers.

**It would be great to hear feedback/comments on these previews - please feel free to get in touch via Twitter, or via email.**

15th February, 2017.

**It would be great to hear feedback/comments on these previews - please feel free to get in touch via Twitter, or via email.**

It's 11am UK time now, and today's matches have been running for around three hours, as WTA Doha started early (8am) to get the rain delayed matches cleared, before the second round matches get played later today.  I'll be preparing for those matches (including a further WTA spreadsheet) shortly, so today's previews will be ATP orientated.

ATP Rotterdam

There wasn't many entry points anticipated in the first two matches, and I've steered clear so far.  David Goffin (currently set and break up over Andrey Kuznetsov) isn't the best break deficit recoverer for a strong, return orientated player, while I expected plenty of holds and retained leads - particularly if Pierre-Hugues Herbert got in front - in his match against Evgeny Donskoy.

The real trading highlight in Rotterdam today is the Alexander Zverev vs Dominic Thiem match, where Zverev is the slight 1.78 favourite.  Trading options - despite the projected hold percentages around the ATP mean - are quite plentiful, with Zverev being superb at break deficit recovery but relatively poor at retaining leads also.  With this particular match in mind, the lead loss/recovery data indicates that Zverev should be most vulnerable as a front-runner in the first set, while Thiem is also most vulnerable at this stage.  However, Thiem stays more at risk of losing break leads throughout the match, while my data shows that Zverev is likely to be more solid from a set and break up, or a break up in the final set.

Having said all this, it will be worth in-play traders keeping a close eye on Zverev's level, given that he may be a little fatigued after taking the title in Montpellier last week.

Alexander Zverev has had two days rest following his title in Montpellier...

ATP Buenos Aires

In Argentina tonight, there are six matches, with Victor Estrella and Paolo Lorenzi (discussed yesterday - see below) lucky to get an extra rest day after the postponement of their first round match on Tuesday.  They are first on court tonight against Thiago Monteiro and Gerald Melzer, respectively.

I quite like Albert Ramos at around 1.80 against Leonardo Mayer, and my data also expects Mayer to be a vulnerable front-runner in the final set.  In-play data could well throw up several entry points.

The other player I like today is Federico Delbonis (1.67) who takes on Joao Sousa.  It's quite baffling why the Portuguese player, Sousa, has played this event, given that hold/break data shows he's a much better Indoor Hard player than clay court, and obviously his travelling would be less playing in Europe currently.  

This data indicates decent value on the home favourite, Delbonis, and there are various entry points - particularly in the first set or from a set and break up - where Sousa can be opposed if he gets in front today.  I was a little concerned about Delbonis' lack of activity this year prior to his match against Stephane Robert on Monday, but on his best surface by some distance, he got past the French veteran in facile fashion.

Federico Delbonis looks a decent price at home against Joao Sousa...

I doubt I'll stay up for the midnight match between Kei Nishikori (1.15) and Diego Schwartzman, which is a shame, as I'd prefer this to have been on earlier, but I expect Alessandro Giannessi to have issues retaining leads against Pablo Carreno-Busta (1.25), with the Italian having a low projected hold and Carreno-Busta having strong break deficit recovery numbers, with the exception of the final set.

ATP Memphis

Stateside, I like Jordan Thompson (1.62) in the opener against Nikoloz Basilashvili, who has travelled from Sofia, where he lost in the semi-finals on Saturday.  I rate the Australian as a decent young prospect and better (and with more of an upside, potential wise) than the Georgian anyway.  Bash has bad lead retention data and a low projected hold here, and can be opposed when leading in-play.

Mikhail Kukushkin (2.19) would be a terrible price against Dustin Brown, if it wasn't for 'Dreddy' retiring after one game with a back injury against Benoit Paire last week and subsequent flight from Europe.  Adjusting for this, I made prices about right, and this is a match where in-play point by point data is again vital to analyse.  Kukushkin has been in awful form for a good while, and ideally I'd like to oppose him here, but I need to see evidence that Brown is in decent shape first.

The other return orientated match is likely to be Steve Darcis against Damir Dzumhur, with Darcis taking advantage of Radu Albot's awful lead retention data in the final set yesterday, as I mentioned in yesterday's preview.  However, while I expect breaks, I don't expect a significantly greater amount of in-set swings than average.

In the remaining more serve orientated matches, I feel Reilly Opelka has a decent chance as a slight underdog against Donald Young, while on quite a slow indoor court, John Isner looks short at 1.24 against the Japanese youngster, Yoshihito Nishioka.

**It would be great to hear feedback/comments on these previews - please feel free to get in touch via Twitter, or via email.**

14th February, 2017.

**It would be great to hear feedback/comments on these previews - please feel free to get in touch via Twitter, or via email.**

It's now just before 12:30pm UK time, and today's matches have been running for just short of three hours.  With there being 52 matches (ATP/WTA and Challenger Tours) needing to be analysed today for the daily spreadsheets I'm a bit behind with these previews today, but at a time of the year where Tennis is almost 24 hours around the clock, it's not a huge issue.

ATP Rotterdam

There have been several comments on social media suggesting the courts in the Netherlands are playing slower than previous years, so it will be interesting to analyse the first round statistics when that part of the tournament is complete.  Generally speaking, I'm wary of subjectively assessing court speed, but I certainly feel that any statistical agreement in these statements would be wise to be taken into account.

Martin Klizan is next on court (in around half an hour) and in a battle of left-handers, faces the Spaniard, Fernando Verdasco (1.70).  Personally, I'm surprised to see Klizan at such a big price here, given that the Slovakian has a better recent record than Verdasco indoors, and is defending the title this week (the points from these came off last week and has seen him drop from 36 to 73 in the world rankings).  

To recover his ranking, Martin Klizan must perform well again in Rotterdam this week...

The two evening matches are pretty interesting, although it is questionable whether the markets will be as buoyant this evening as they may usually be - if they are, on Valentine's Day, there may be a lot of disgruntled partners...

There could be some potential opposing the erratic Benoit Paire (3.40) as a front-runner against Marin Cilic, although I'd guard against getting too involved financially - Cilic's break deficit recovery data is far from impressive for a top 10 player.  Any entry would effectively be an anti-Paire play.

From a neutral standpoint, the next generation battle between Borna Coric and Karen Khachanov (1.66) looks very interesting indeed, and it is a measure of how much Coric's career has stagnated, and Khachanov has improved, that the Russian is the favourite.  Despite this, there is still much for Khachanov to work on, and his break lead loss data is atrocious for a serve orientated player, currently.  Whether Coric can take advantage of this, however, is the big question...

ATP Buenos Aires

There are ten matches on the card tonight in the Argentinian capital, and projected hold percentages are generally a little lower than the ATP mean.   

It will certainly be worth keeping an eye on whether Victor Estrella and Paolo Lorenzi can recover from their exertions at altitude in Quito (in Lorenzi's case also accumulated fatigue from Davis Cup duty previously) last week, and they face Thiago Monteiro and Gerald Melzer, respectively.  The pre-match lines currently look about right, but taking into account in-play statistics would be as crucial as ever for traders in these type of match-ups.

The most vulnerable front-runner looks to be Facundo Bagnis (3.00) in the late match, against the diminutive Diego Schwartzman, and with Schwartzman recovering the first break deficit of sets an incredible 63.9% of time since July 2014, in-play traders should have plenty of options to oppose Bagnis should he get in front tonight.

Diego Schwartzman is one of the best performers on the ATP Tour for recovering break deficits...

I also wouldn't mind keeping an eye on opposing Jozef Kovalik, from this perspective.  He takes on the home favourite, Carlos Berlocq (1.70), who is very weak on serve, but strong on return. 

Tommy Robredo's match against Fabio Fognini looks to be one to avoid, given the huge question marks surrounding Robredo's fitness - he is quoted as saying he is far from fit, either physically or mentally - but Fognini's game really does represent Forrest Gump's proverbial box of chocolates.  You never really know what you are going to get.  The volatile Italian does seem to play his best tennis when on the verge of defeat, so a lay of Robredo at very short prices - particularly given the likelihood of him struggling with fitness as the match progressive - is unlikely to be a move with long-term negative expectation.

ATP Memphis

There are just six matches in Tennessee tonight, and in the opener, gauging Bernard Tomic's (1.26) motivation in the early games against a limited and return orientated Darian King looks key here, although I don't have much faith in Tomic's game currently.

I've seen worse 1.66 shots than Peter Polansky against the mediocre Matt Ebden in the second match on the card, and my data indicates that Ebden is likely to be a vulnerable front-runner in this match, as is Radu Albot against the Belgian, Steve Darcis.

The later three matches look to be a touch more serve-orientated and less likely to have in-set swings.

WTA Doha

For the second day running, there is somehow rain in the desert, and the first three matches today are currently interrupted by the weather.

It's always tough to know how the condition of many players will be following Fed Cup duty, so it wouldn't be a huge shock if there weren't many fightbacks in these matches today.

Kiki Bertens, Cagla Buyukackay and Yulia Putintseva look the best candidates for losing in-set leads.

**It would be great to hear feedback/comments on these previews - please feel free to get in touch via Twitter, or via email.**

13th February, 2017.

**It would be great to hear feedback/comments on these previews - please feel free to get in touch via Twitter, or via email.**

Mixed court conditions this week

There are three ATP tournaments this week, with two in Indoor Hard in Rotterdam (500 level) and Memphis (250), and one on clay 250 event in the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires.

Conditions this week are mixed, with data indicating that conditions in Rotterdam are likely to be medium-fast, with Memphis looking around average (albeit with a very serve-orientated entry list this year) and Buenos Aires on the medium-slow side.

Matches get underway in around an hour's time, at 1130am UK time, and on the whole, the card today looks relatively uninspiring.  However, I wanted to write a little about several of the matches on today's schedule which did catch my eye.

Generally speaking, I don't advocate model-based bettors getting involved in first round matches very often, with player condition and motivation often questionable, but my trading database indicated no real difference with in-play data.  As an example, the break-back percentage in first round matches was largely the same as other rounds, with no significant bias towards any particular round.

ATP Rotterdam

In Rotterdam, I'm expecting the five matches today to be relatively serve-orientated, with home wild-card Robin Haase's match against Florian Mayer the most likely to generate opportunities on return.  I think Mayer's price looks a bit big, in excess of 2.40, but both players have historically been worse than average as a front-runner.

Although I won't be trading tonight, I'm also interested in Tomas Berdych's match against Marius Copil, with the Czech player (1.16) far from a shoo-in against a competent server who has a much better record on quicker surfaces, particularly indoor hard.  Berdych's return data has plummeted in the last six months, and he's now only broken opponents 18.0% on hard or indoor hard in that time period - around 3% worse than the ATP mean.  Given Berdych's ranking, and the fact that he was in the high 20s several years back, it is clear that Berdych has issues with his return game currently.

Tomas Berdych's return game has been in sharp decline...

I'm also relatively surprised that the lucky loser, Denis Istomin, retains favourite status against Aljaz Bedene (2.08), and I think that price is indicative of some market fear surrounding the Uzbek after his Australian Open run.  Random runs in one tournament don't particularly interest me, and Bedene beat Istomin in the qualifiers yesterday, and has better hold/break stats on the surface anyway.

ATP Memphis

Over in Memphis, I'm expecting more return-orientated clashes, with the match between Adrian Mannarino and Donald Young perhaps the most likely to feature breaks of serve.  However, both players are generally poor at recovering break deficits, which reduces in-play entry points.

Yoshihito Nishioka has chances tonight against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez...

Yoshihito Nishioka looks reasonable at 1.70 against the deteriorating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who has won just five of 24 in the last 12 months on hard or indoor hard courts, holding just 73.0% of the time, whilst I am surprised about the market confidence in Kevin Anderson (1.44), who has had injury issues for a year and hasn't played this season.  He faces a streaky opponent in Damir Dzumhur.  

The big-serving Reilly Opelka will have opportunities for tiebreak betting throughout his career, but today's match against Jared Donaldson, who doesn't have the best service numbers, on a medium speed court, isn't one.  There will be plenty in the future though...

ATP Buenos Aires

Over in Buenos Aires, the heavy underdog Stephane Robert faces home player, Federico Delbonis (1.25), and the Frenchman looks to be the most vulnerable front-runner of the day, with a low projected hold and high combined score indicated in the daily spreadsheets.  According to the lead loss/recovery sheets, Delbonis has a dynamic where he recovers the most break deficits early in the match, particularly in the first set, so laying Robert a break up in the first set, or serving for it, would have some appeal.

Stephane Robert looks a vulnerable front-runner in the first set today...

WTA Doha

Finally, over in Doha, I anticipate relatively slow conditions for the WTA Premier event, and just two matches feature on the schedule this afternoon.  None particularly catch my eye - I'm generally keen to oppose Sam Stosur, but Anastasija Sevastova (1.78) looks priced pretty accurately, and there are few trading entry points that I can identify in advance.

**It would be great to hear feedback/comments on these previews - please feel free to get in touch via Twitter, or via email.**
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