ATP Nottingham – Third Round – Marcos Baghdatis vs Alexander Zverev
The final week of Wimbledon warm-up events is now at the third round stage and a number of shock results on the grass in Nottingham has left the field wide open, as we search for our fourth preview winning handicap bet in a row.
One of the shock results so far was the Cypriot veteran Marcos Baghdatis getting the better of world number seven David Ferrer in straight sets yesterday, and this result has severely impacted on Baghdatis’ price, making him extremely over-rated today.
In his prime, the 30 year old was a superb grass-courter, reaching the quarter-finals and semi-finals of Wimbledon in 2006 and 2007, and at this time was ranked a career-best 8th in the world. Advancing years and a questionable fitness level have dogged Baghdatis in recent times and he currently stands at 61, although his 12-9 record in ATP events in 2015 is an improvement of his 2014 7-11 record.
Throughout his ATP career on grass, Baghdatis has won 37 of 63 matches (59%), holding 83.0% and breaking 22.4%, to generate a strong combined 105.4%. This would make him a top 20 player on the surface if looking at his all-time statistics.
However, this would be unreasonable given that he is not nearly the player he once was, and in the last three years on grass a 9-10 record has generated 80.1% holds and 19.0% breaks, reducing the combined percentage to 99.1% – fairly solid (top 50 level) but not nearly as spectacular.
19 year old German prospect Zverev is having a superb 2015 and has broken into the top 100, currently standing 20 places behind Baghdatis at 81. Whilst his experience on grass is understandably fairly limited at six main draw matches, he has won four of these, holding 89.3% and breaking 18.4% (combined 107.7%). I’d expect these figures to contract a little with a better sample, but it is clear that wins over the likes of Jarkko Nieminen and Mikhail Kukushkin, plus taking a set in defeats to the resurgent Viktor Troicki and the big-serving Ivo Karlovic make him a solid player on the surface at least.
With Zverev taking a set in both his grass defeats this means he has won at least a set in all six of his matches on the surface, and this is a line I like today. In addition to this, when favourite in best of three set ATP main draw matches since January 2014, Baghdatis has won just four of 14 matches in straight sets. It seems clear that his declining fitness levels make it very hard for him to maintain a consistent standard throughout a match.
On this basis, Zverev to claim at least a set at 1.73 looks to be a very strong value handicap betting proposition.
Recommendation: Back Zverev +1.5 sets at 1.73.
Prices correct at time of writing.
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