Apia International Sydney – Thursday 15th January at 07:30
I feel that Troicki is the better player in this match-up despite only being made as a very marginal 1.90 favourite by the oddsmakers. My model priced him at 1.55 so there is a considerable difference from the available market prices.
The Serbian boasts a 10-4 record on the ATP Tour in main draw matches since his return to tour in July 2014 after a ban for missing a drugs test, whilst Bolelli’s record in the last 12 months is worse, at 9-9. Troicki has won five from seven on hard court, whilst Bolelli gained five wins from his eight outings on the surface in this time period.
Looking at the stats from these hard court matches, Troicki has held 84.7% – around 5% above the ATP hard court mean – whilst Bolelli has a slightly better hold percentage of 85.4%.
Both have impressive service numbers, but there is a marked difference in the two players return statistics – Troicki is the better returner by some distance, breaking his hard court opponents 28.8% since his return to Tour. Bolelli’s figures are much lower at 16.7%. This data is also backed-up by Troicki creating 0.61 break points per opponent service game across all surfaces in the last 12 months at ATP level, with Bolelli creating just 0.40 per game.
Since this return to Tour, Troicki has also recovered a break deficit 50.0% of the time which is elite level – on this basis he should remain very competitive in sets even when a break down and should be able to turn around losing positions more than average.
Troicki has also been very strong when priced as a marginal 1.50-1.99 favourite since his return to action. Including Challengers (which he used to repair his damaged ranking) he has won 11 out of 13 in this price range, including a facile 6-2 6-3 win over Martin Klizan (when priced 1.77) in the opening round of this tournament. Eight wins were via straight sets, with two in three sets and one courtesy of a retirement.
Historically these matches where Troicki is slightly the better player have treated him very well indeed – he’s 68-27 in his career in this price range. He also took four from eight in straight sets in 2013, prior to his ban.
With high motivation to recover his ranking (currently at 94, from a career high of 12), Troicki will be looking to get towards the top 50 as quickly as possible to obtain direct entry for the March Masters events in America. Since his return, he’s treated every match with maximum effort and I feel he has a superb chance here.
Recommendation: Back Viktor Troicki -1.5 sets at 3.36.
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