ATP Budapest – Quarter-Final – Lucas Pouille vs Martin Klizan
The ATP clay season continues this week with a 500 level event in Barcelona, and a 250 taking place in Budapest. It is the lower level tournament in Hungary that today’s handicap betting recommendation comes from, with Martin Klizan taking on the over-rated Lucas Pouille.
I have written many times regarding Lucas Pouille, and how over-rated he is by the markets, as well as by most Tennis observers. The young prospect, who isn’t far from the top 10 at 23 years of age, has obtained many of his wins in very close matches – yesterday’s win over Jiri Vesely was another example of this – and has over performed significantly on key points.
The problem Pouille faces long-term, is that unless he continues this by turning into the most mentally strong player the ATP Tour has probably ever seen, he won’t be able to sustain such over-performance.
In the last 12 months, across all surfaces, the Frenchman is 19-7 in tiebreaks, and running 1.9% above expectation on break points across serve and return. If we filter this data for clay only, he is 6-0 in tiebreaks, and 2.8% above expectation on break points.
Quite simple, only elite players in the world can sustain tiebreak numbers close to this, and hold/break percentages indicate that Pouille is far from this bracket.
At the time of writing, Pouille is the pre-match favourite, priced around the 1.60 mark, with Klizan available at around 2.60.
My model made these prices significantly wrong, with Klizan actually being priced as a slight favourite, with better hold/break numbers.
The Tournament So Far
As the top seed in the event, Pouille received a first round by, before scraping past Vesely in a final-set tiebreak yesterday. In that match, Pouille faced nine break points on serve to Vesely’s eight, and saved two match points serving at *4-5 in the final set. There can be no doubt that Pouille can consider himself lucky to take to the court today.
The Slovakian, Klizan, has had much more serene progress, being priced around the 1.50-1.60 mark in both his matches against young prospects Maximilian Marterer and Bjorn Fratangelo, and conceding a mere five games in both matches, which were straight-set wins.
On clay in the last 12 months, Pouille has held serve 77.2% and broken opponents 24.4% (combined 101.6%). These are solid but unspectacular numbers and definitely not those indicative of a top 15 player or top seed in an event.
Klizan has only played 12 matches on clay in this time period (he is 8-4, breaking opponents a highly impressive 37.3% of the time) but if we extend this to a 24 month sample, he has held serve 73.7%, breaking opponents 30.3% (combined 104.0%).
Considering these numbers, there really isn’t much of a reason as to why the market favours Pouille today.
Klizan’s record on clay is strong, and he has an excellent 18-13 record in best of three set matches as a 2.00-3.00 priced underdog on the dirt throughout his career.
Furthermore, the Slovak has won at least one set in nine of his last ten matches on clay in this price range, and therefore backing him to achieve this again today at 1.61 makes a lot of sense.
Tennis Handicap Betting Recommendation: Back Martin Klizan +1.5 sets at 1.61
Prices correct at time of writing.
Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage, winners welcome!