Moving on swiftly now from what was a disastrous week five in which the last piece of questionable luck was Egor Gerasimov to win set one of the Pune final 7-6, which of course he lost 7-6.
It was that sort of week and let’s see if out fortunes change in week six, where we have indoor action in Rotterdam, New York and Buenos Aires.
In the past, Rotterdam has provided an average amount of underdog winners (33% in the last seven years), while Buenos Aires is usually a value-seekers graveyard, with just 27% of betting underdogs winning between 2013 and 2019 inclusive.
The New York Open has only been on the calendar for two years and last year it had the highest average hold of serve mark all season, but it does also tend to feature a lot of of big servers in its field.
There were 87% holds of serve last year in New York (84% is its two-year average) and a healthy 36% of underdogs have won so far in its two years on the tour.
In Rotterdam the players have held serve an average of 82% of the time in its last three years of main draw play, but conditions tend to change here every year and last year there were only 79% holds.
The average hold of serve mark in Buenos Aires over the last three years has been 74% and with only 28% of its matches in the last seven years featuring a tie break.
As far as tie breaks go in this week’s indoor events, Rotterdam’s seven-year average is 42%, while 52% of New York’s main draw matches in its two years on tour have featured at least one breaker.
I won’t be looking at Buenos Aires at all this week as far as daily bets are concerned and that’s due to the timing of the matches and its poor return of underdog winners, so New York and Rotterdam will be the focus.
And there are four very tricky-looking matches to kick us off with in Rotterdam on Monday, starting at (not before) 12:00 UK time when Adrian Mannarino meets Pablo Carreno Busta.
Three of the four matches today have been priced up not far off even and this is one of them, with Mannarino maybe not being given quite enough respect by the market as slight underdog.
There isn’t much in it, but Mannarino’s last few tournaments played under a roof in slowish conditions have been decent: a final in Zhuhai (which was technically outdoor hard, but played under a roof); another final in Moscow; a decent showing against Nadal in Bercy; and a final set loss to eventual Montpellier champ Monfils.
Injuries at the end of last season meant that Mannarino was unable to train for more than a week ahead of Melbourne, so he’s been a bit behind in his preparation for the 2020 campaign.
Carreno Busta only won 28% of his second serve points against Norbert Gombos in Montpellier last week, but in general on indoor hard lately he’s been getting better, with a 7-5 win/loss mark and a hold/break total of 106.4, so I’m not really fancying taking him on with someone as up and down as Mannarino.
The pair met once in a really swingy affair on clay in spring 2018 when PCB had only played one match in a month and it ended up going all the way to a final set breaker after PCB had led 5-2 in the third and Mannarino also failed to take three match points.
The one that could be interesting is the clash between Roberto Bautista Agut and Marton Fucsovics, with the Hungarian playing with some confidence right now after a real struggle for much of 2019 due to injury and illness.
Fucsovics played very well in Melbourne and if he can make a high number of first serves his big game can put pressure on RBA in what will be a first career clash between the pair.
Fucsovics often doesn’t make enough first serves, as his record on this surface at this level in his 23 career matches (14-9 win/loss) shows.
He’s made only 56.4% of first serves in those matches and when you combine that with a second serve win percentage in those matches of 47.5% it becomes clear he’ll need to make more serves against RBA.
Having come through qualies seemingly very impressively (although I didn’t see the match) against Alexei Popyrin he could be in a position to do some damage if RBA is lacking a bit on indoor hard, having not played on it since the Davis Cup final last November.
I’m not sure the price will be big enough for me though, with Fucsovics priced up at 3.45 when he was slated to play RBA in Sofia indoors a year ago, but RBA withdrew sick.
The first match if the evening session is an absolute pick ‘em on current form between Grigor Dimitrov and Denis Shapovalov and while it may well be a fun watch it’s so hard to bet on at the moment.
Dimitrov’s form is all over the place these days, while the new coach bounce that Shapo enjoyed after linking up with Mikhail Youzhny has gone rather flat lately.
Both were beaten as short priced favourites last week and I couldn’t back either of these two with any sort of confidence today.
The last match of the day at around 20:00 UK time sees Britain’s Dan Evans face Philipp Kohlschreiber, the German veteran who’s come through qualifying over the weekend.
That may give Kohli a slight advantage, but we can see a tailing off of his return game on indoor hard in his stats over his last 50 main level matches indoors compared with those of the last two years.
In his last 50 matches indoors, Kohli held serve 83.2% of the time and broke serve 17.2% of the time, but in the 14 matches he played in 2018 and 2019 at main level indoors he held slightly more often at 84.5% but only broke 12.3% of the time.
That led to him playing a whopping 0.38 tie breaks per set in those 14 matches (5-9 win/loss) and no doubt Kohli would point to injuries that he had in those couple of years, but at 36 years old it could just as easily be a player in decline.
Evans has barely anything to go on indoors in terms of numbers, as he’s only played nine career matches at this level on this surface and he’s 4-5 win/loss and with a service hold/break total of 99.1.
The last time this pair met Evans took an MTO at the end of set one and ended up losing in three to Kohlschreiber in Cincy qualies last summer and Evans pulled out of Montpellier last week citing a hip/thigh injury, so this looks a very tough one to call.
Perhaps slight advantage to Kohli because of his two matches here and Evans lack of activity since Melbourne, but it would only be a tentative pick.
So, no bet in Rotterdam on Monday and I’ll be back in two day’s time for a preview of the matches played on Wednesday to Sunday this week.