Andy Schooler has landed six tips from eight across three days of the ATP Finals so far. Check out his picks for Wednesday’s action which includes Novak Djokovic v Daniil Medvedev.
Novak Djokovic v Daniil Medvedev (2000 GMT)
Title favourite Djokovic made a polished start to his campaign by dismissing Schwartzman in straight sets on Monday but we should learn more about his form in this match.
Medvedev is a player who has had the keys to victory over the Serb in recent times. He’s won two of their last three meetings (both last season) and across their history as a whole has nearly always troubled him. Only one of their six previous matches has been decided in straight sets.
Medvedev didn’t start very well in his opening match of this Tokyo Group on Monday against Zverev but once he got into his stride he pushed on for a deserved victory.
The Russian loves to mix things up and he’ll be keen on not letting Djokovic find a rhythm here. He won’t be unduly concerned about trading from the baseline with the world number one either – that facet of his game looked in pretty good working order the other night.
I’d expect this to be close and that history between them suggests a third set could well be in the offing.
A three-set match can be backed at 11/8 but I prefer the 3/1 about Djokovic winning this by two sets to one.
He’s most at home in these indoor conditions and an 8-0 record in final sets this year shows how teak-tough he is mentally. In comparison, Medvedev is 7-4.
It may also be worth getting ‘no tie-break’ on your betslip given just one of the pair’s 18 completed sets has gone to a 13th game.
The quality of returning has had much to do with that with break points being regularly created.
On average, there have been 5.83 per set with 2.44 breaks per set. Narrow things down to their hardcourt meetings and both figures are higher.
In short, there should be plenty of opportunities to break serve – the O2 Arena court isn’t slow but neither is it lightning fast – and 4/5 looks a fair price.
My concern would be that I’m expecting the match to involve three sets, thus increasing the chance of a tie-break. For that reason, I’ll keep stakes fairly low on this one.
Alex Zverev v Diego Schwartzman (1400 GMT)
Much was made of Schwartzman’s ‘bad’ match-up against Novak Djokovic on Monday and it was no surprise to see him lose in straight sets.
I’m afraid there’s not much good news for the Argentine when it comes to looking at how he matches up against Zverev either.
Schwartzman was pummelled by the German in Cologne last month, winning just three games, while his other indoor hardcourt meeting against Zverev (in Paris in 2018) saw him win only six. On neither occasion did he break serve.
The Zverev serve has come under much scrutiny this season and it was no different during his opener against Daniil Medvedev.
Double faults again leaked from his weak second serve – seven on this occasion – and Schwartzman will doubtless look to attack that second delivery.
Yet it’s not something that’s made a big difference in those two previous indoor meetings. Schwartzman won 50% and 60% of points played on Zverev’s second serve in those matches but it didn’t translate into anything like victory.
A big reason for that is Zverev doesn’t have to rely on his second serve as much as other players.
His first-serve percentage this season is up at 68%. The fact he didn’t hit that mark in either of those one-sided matches with Schwartzman is a worrying sign for the Argentine.
Admittedly Zverev said his serve “wasn’t quite there” during his loss to Medvedev but I see that as a sign that the first thing he did the following day was head out for some serving drills.
I don’t see Schwartzman having much joy returning Zverev’s first serve so if the percentage stays high, the German should prevail.
Neither do I see the underdog being able to win the match via long rallies as he’ll likely try to do.
Zverev held his own in his lengthy exchanges with Medvedev and his extra power gives him another path to victory.
Another straight-sets win for Zverev in their indoor series beckons and prices around the 4/5 mark about that occurrence are perfectly acceptable.
For something bigger, Zverev to win the first set 6-0, 6-1 or 6-2 looks tempting at 5/1.
That’s been the outcome in three of their four sets indoors, including both in Cologne just a few weeks ago.
Given that history, 5/1 – or Sky Bet’s boosted price of 11/2 – looks rather large.
Posted at 1645 GMT on 17/11/20
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