ATP Basel – Second Round – Dusan Lajovic vs Ivo Karlovic
ATP action continues today in Basel and Valencia, and a busy schedule this afternoon sees all second round matches completed.
Third on the card on the quick courts of Basel sees Ivo Karlovic take on Dusan Lajovic, with the manner of both players’ victories in the opening round contrasting in the extreme.
Serbian clay-courter Lajovic got past Alexandr Dolgopolov via retirement, whilst Karlovic stunned the markets by recovering from a set and break down to defeat the second seed and home favourite, Stan Wawrinka. This is just the second time Karlovic has got a set and break deficit back on serve in the second set since I started keeping records of this statistic in July 2014.
Considering this, it’s reasonable to assume that the big-serving Croat is willing to give maximum effort this week and against a much worse opponent, should be too good.
On all hard courts in the last two years, Lajovic has held serve a very poor 73.3%, and broken opponents 18.5% (combined 91.8%) – these stats make him out to be barely better than an average Challenger Tour player on hard and indoor hard courts. This assertion is backed up by his mediocre 77.2% holds and 19.4% breaks at that lower level in the last 3 years on this surface (combined 96.6%).
In main tour matches in the last two matches on hard/indoor hard, Karlovic has held serve 94.7% and broken opponents 9.3% (combined 104.0%) so it is clear that there is a very large ability differential between the two players – one which made the 1.32 currently available in the market some value.
However, there is a clear trend for Karlovic to cover -3 games when a heavy favourite. On hard or indoor hard courts, priced between 1.25 and 1.49 in the last 12 months, he’s obtained at least a push on this line in all his nine wins (from 12 matches), with eight wins by more than a three game margin.
In fact, going back five years, only three of Karlovic’s wins on this surface in this price range did not at least push -3 games, so it is obvious that when Karlovic wins matches in this odds range, he does so by at least this margin. Given that opponent Lajovic is weak on serve, this also improves matters, as Karlovic will need at least one break of serve to cover this line.
When both the pre-match value on the Croatian veteran and the historical trends are considered, backing Karlovic -3 games offers much better value than for the outright match win, and this is today’s recommendation.
Recommendation: Back Ivo Karlovic -3 games at 1.93
Prices correct at time of writing.
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