Sean Calvert’s Stockholm Wednesday Preview

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Round two of the 2021 Stockholm Open is in play on Wednesday at the Kungliga Tennishallen, with all eight matches scheduled in this final regular season tournament of the ATP Tour.

We got off to a good start as far as daily wagers go with a 2.62 success for over 0.5 tie breaks in the match between Botic van de Zandschulp and Nino Serdarusic that ended 7-6, 7-6, and anyone who took the other suggestion of 7-6 in set one to VDZ would have had a nice winner, too.

Sadly, once again the layers got away with one when 50-1 outright Emil Ruusuvuori lacked the consistency and nerve to beat Pedro Martinez in a final set tie break, so we’re left with two outrights at this early stage of the week.

Probably the match of the day in many people’s eyes will be Jannik Sinner versus Andy Murray and this is a fascinating clash between the up and coming Italian star and the former world number one.

And this might be a good time for Murray to face Sinner, with the latter likely to be a little deflated by his failure to qualify for the Tour Finals in his home nation and having played a lot of tennis lately – 15 since the US Open.

Despite the possible issue with fatigue (Tiafoe was complaining of fatigue yesterday and he’s played exactly the same number of matches in 2021 as Sinner and two fewer than Sinner since New York) the interesting thing about Sinner post-New York is that all bar one of his matches have ended in straight sets.

Indeed, the only one that didn’t finish in two should have ended in two when Sinner lost from a set and 5-2 up against the aforementioned Tiafoe.

Comparing the stats of Sinner and Murray in the last three months shows that there isn’t that much between them on service holds (Sinner 86% holds, Murray 84%) and first serve points won (both 76%) and Sinner has a slight edge on second serve points won (54% compared to 50%), but Murray isn’t breaking anywhere near as much at the moment as he used to.

In the last three months at main level Murray’s broken serve only 22% of the time and between 2016 and 2017 when he was at his peak he broke serve 33% of the time on all surfaces and 35% of the time on outdoor hard (32% of the time on indoor hard).

Sinner has broken serve 28% of the time in his last three months at main level, giving him a hold/break total of 114 compared to Murray’s 106.

Sinner feels a little bit short to me at 1.37 and Murray isn’t without a chance if he plays his best stuff, but that can’t be relied upon these days.

I was happy to take a punt on Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at 50-1 on Monday morning and he came in to 28-1 by Tuesday morning, having not even played a match that day, so I’m happy with the price we got on him.

Today he takes on a Dan Evans who hasn’t been able to find anything like his best form since contracting Covid in the summer and if we look at his numbers before and after that point it’s quite interesting.

From the start of the season until the end of Wimbledon at main level, Evans was running at a hold/break total of 106, while after Wimbledon until now he’s running at 97, so quite a difference.

One could say something similar about Davidovich Fokina, who won 61% of his matches and had a combined hold/break total of 102 up to and including Wimbledon, while afterwards he’s running at 98 and winning 44% of his matches.

So, both players have struggled in the second half of the season, with Evans well down on his earlier level and I wonder how much desire he has this week, with little at stake and with Davis Cup surely the priority for Evans.

This pair are hard to split on hold/break totals on indoor hard (101 for Evans and 100 for ADF) in their careers and surprisingly it’s ADF that’s played more main level matches indoors than Evans and won a slightly higher number (54% to 50%).

The prices look about right in this one and I’m not seeing any value here.

Another of our 50-1 outrights this week is Filip Krajinovic, who takes on number two seed Felix Auger-Aliassime on Wednesday, with a decent record against FAA to take into this fifth career clash with the Canadian.

The series is currently tied at 2-2 (three of their four matches were played on clay) and the stats show that Krajinovic has held serve 84% of the time against FAA, who has only held 79% of the time against Krajinovic.

First serve points won are almost identical, but Krajinovic has won more second serve points (53% compared to 47%) and created more break chances per game (0.63 compared to 0.53) and converted slightly more of those opportunities (33.3% compared to 30%).

In their one meeting that came on indoor hard Krajinovic won that as well, holding serve 93% of the time, but it was back in 2018 (in Rotterdam) when FAA was 168th in the world.

Both of these players will be involved in the Davis Cup Finals in a few weeks and I’m a little surprised that FAA is playing this week after struggling with an arm problem last week in Paris.

Auger-Aliassime was poor in a straight sets loss to Dominik Koepfer that day and won just 35% of his second serve points, combined with eight double faults, at least some of which must have been down to the issue he was having with his arm.

Given the stats of the career series and FAA suspect right arm and poor level from last week the Canadian looks short here at 1.46 (he was 2.03 when they met in Rome only six months ago) and if I wasn’t on Krajinovic outright I’d be backing him today.

Krajinovic made the final here in Stockholm last time it was played, he’s got a match under his belt already and the quicker conditions should suit him, so this looks a poor price on FAA to me.

There was very little between Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul when they met in slower conditions in St. Petersburg a few weeks ago, with Paul winning more points on first and second serve than Fritz and scoring just four fewer points overall than his rival.

Fritz was clinical that day in taking both of the break chances he created, while Paul took only one of four and that, alongside Paul double faulting at inopportune moments, was the difference between these two good friends.

Fritz said after the match: “It makes it even tougher. [Tommy is] not just another American, one of my closest friends. It’s never easy playing against a really close friend. I thought the match in general was very high level.”

Given that their completed clashes have all been close (a trio of three-setters as juniors, a 7-6, 7-5 to Paul and that close one in St. Petersburg) and that Fritz has played a lot of tennis lately – 14 matches in the past month (nine in the past two weeks) – it’s quite possible that Paul can turn this around from St. Petersburg.

Paul has had one comfortable singles match here already, beating wild card Leo Borg in the expected straight sets and he’s won nine of his last 13 matches, so he should be confident and this should be a good match.

Fritz opened up at 1.67 against Paul only a fortnight or so ago and now he’s 1.40, which feels short, and either Paul to win it at 3.0 (generally) or Paul +3.5 games at 1.84 (SBK) look the ones to consider here, with Fritz having played only yesterday and quite likely to be fatigued.

Fatigue might also cost Pedro Martinez today against Frances Tiafoe, who’s had an extra day off and said he was tired after a patchy round one showing against Elias Ymer, and had Martinez not had that three-hour battle with Ruusuvuori I might have been tempted with him today.

Martinez did have the trainer on briefly for something and you’d think that Tiafoe would have too much power in these quickish conditions, but I wouldn’t trust Tiafoe at 1.35 after his round one display.

Our 200-1 shot Peter Gojowczyk should have taken down Jozef Kovalik, but was awful on the day, but Arthur Rinderknech should have few problems overpowering the lucky loser all things being equal.

Rinderknech had a comfortable outing against a barely there Alexander Bublik in round one and the Frenchman didn’t waste much energy in that match, so it would be a big surprise if Kovalik were to oust Rinderknech here.

I wasn’t impressed with the display of Botic van de Zandschulp yesterday and he looked tired and irritable in what probably should have been an easier outing than it was against Nino Serdarusic.

The Dutchman didn’t look engaged at all at times and allowed Serdarusic to get away with some pretty average tennis at best before waking up in time to take the two tie breaks.

He’ll need a lot better if he’s to beat Marton Fucsovics today and the Hungarian has had two clear days off since his comfortable win over Adrian Mannarino on Sunday, so that’s a pretty big advantage at this stage of the season.

Denis Shapovalov has a record of only 2-2 win/loss on indoor hard at main level when priced up shorter than 1.20, losing to Radu Albot and Juri Rodionov a year ago in Sofia and Vienna and he struggled against Pablo Andujar a few weeks ago as well.

He also lost as a 1.14 chance to Vit Kopriva in Gstaad in July, so he’s not exactly to be trusted at short prices and it should be interesting to see how he gets on against Andrea Vavassori, who’ll probably be attacking the net as often as he can.

Shapo skipped Paris last week and is 5-9 win/loss since Wimbledon, so I like the 5.50 that Bet365 are offering about the Italian winning the opening set against an opponent who’s really struggled lately and must be low on confidence.

Best Bets

1 point win Paul to beat Fritz at 3.0 (generally)

0.5 points win Vavassori to win set one at 5.50 (Bet 365)