WE found two winners and one loss from effectively match point up from our three wagers on Wednesday at the Australian Open on another poor day for the underdogs as 13 of 16 favourites won.
There are 16 round two matches set for Thursday when the forecast says to expect a cloudy day of around 30C, but with more humidity than usual at around 50%.
The two prices that stand out to me as being too short on Thursday are those about Daniil Medvedev and Filip Krajinovic against Ryan Harrison and Evgeny Donskoy respectively.
Ryan Harrison vs Daniil Medvedev
There was very little between this pair in Winston-Salem on outdoor hard around five months ago when they clashed in the quarter finals of that event, which Medvedev went on to win.
Only five points separated them that day, which perhaps shows that the starting prices of an even money match were proven to be more or less correct: now, Medvedev is a 1.20 chance.
Clearly Medvedev has been on a great run since then, but I think this price is too short nonetheless and while Harrison is very inconsistent from week-to-week he did play well first up here and has a decent record against top-25 ranked opposition.
In his last 10 matches against them on outdoor hard at main level he’s lost seven, but he still held serve 83.6% of the time in those matches, so he hasn’t been outclassed.
Indeed, his one-year hold/break stats against all opposition at main level on this surface is decent: 87.1% holds/16.4% breaks for a 103.5 total that is only 3.2% behind that of Medvedev.
So, on those stats and the head-to-head (Harrison also beat Medvedev on grass back in 2016 as slight underdog) this should be much closer than the prices we have and Harrison tends to raise his game in these sorts of matches.
Last season at the US Open he lost a tight five setter to Kevin Anderson (Harrison led 2-1 and won more points overall) and in Melbourne last year he took Marin Cilic to two tie breaks.
In his last eight Grand Slam matches against top-20 opposition there has been at least one tie break, while both Harrison versus Medvedev matches have gone to a breaker in set one.
Over 35.5 games or Harrison +5.5 games or tie break played and/or set one overs look the ones here, with the quicker outside court (Court 8) hopefully playing a part in a match of few breaks.
Evgeny Donskoy vs Filip Krajinovic
This price of 1.32 on the brittle-bodied Krajinovic in match after he played a five setter in very hot conditions in his opening round looks very short and more so given that the Serb has no record at all in coming back from long matches.
That rather fortunate win over Marco Cecchinato (who led 6-4, 6-0, *5-3) was the first time that Krajinovic had even completed a full five sets in his career after retiring in the fifth set against Matt Ebden at the US Open in September.
Given that and his catalogue of injury problems throughout his career I wouldn’t bet on Krajinovic being fit and healthy for his next round and even without that worry his form has been a concern since he split with the coach that oversaw his big rankings rise.
Petar Popovic took him from 126 to 26 in the world, but they split four months ago and as a result Krajinovic certainly looked rather lost at times on court at the end of last season.
The head-to-head is favourable for Krajinovic on paper, but in their last clash Donskoy had chances to serve for the opening set and led by a break in the second.
Moreover, Donskoy has a better hold/break record in the main draw in Melbourne by almost 10% than his one-year numbers on outdoor hard (105.3 to 96.2) and with Krajinovic hardly excelling in his stats (101.5 hold/break/10-8 win/loss) on this surface in the last 12 months.
Elsewhere, I’m not convinced about Fabio Fognini on this quick surface, but Leonardo Mayer is 2-21 win/loss on outdoor hard versus the current top-25 and has broken serve only 6.8% of the time in those matches.
Taro Daniel on paper is likely to struggle on these courts against someone with the power of Denis Shapovalov, but the latter will have to play a cleaner match than he often does if he’s going to win easily.
Daniel beat Novak Djokovic on outdoor hard last year (admittedly a returning from injury Djokovic) and took a set off Rafa Nadal at the US Open, so the Canadian will need his best game to win by a margin here.
Kei Nishikori has a 29-13 winning record versus the big servers on my list and will probably take enough of his chances to beat Ivo Karlovic, while Jeremy Chardy is coming off a tough five setter and is 3-20 win/loss versus the players I have in my database as ‘top-10 quality’, so I’m not sold on his prospects against Alexander Zverev.