The first of the men’s quarter finals at the 2017 BNP Paribas Open are scheduled for Thursday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, with matches from the top half of the draw the focus for today.
We enjoyed two comfortable winners on our ‘no tie breaks’ wagers last night, as the matches between Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal and Gael Monfils and Dominic Thiem were both settled quickly and decisively.
The prices of Thursday’s matches tell us that we have two even money clashes on our hands today and consequently it seems to me to be a day to exercise a bit of caution.
Stanislas Wawrinka vs Dominic Thiem
For me there’s a hint of value on the Austrian in this (not before) 02:00 UK time (19:00 local) clash on Stadium 1 in the third career meeting between the pair.
Thiem looks to have settled into this tournament nicely after impressing in what I expected to be really tough assignment for him against Mischa Zverev and following that up by taking care of Monfils for the loss of only five games.
Admittedly, it was a below par Monfils, whose health has, according to him, fluctuated between: “almost dying” to “a pesky cold” and finally “physically, I am much more affected than usual.”
In other words a typical tournament for Lamonf, but Thiem won’t care about that and he performed well again in conditions that do suit his game, with slower conditions helping and the high bounce aiding his kick serve.
Zverev was unable to rush the Austrian much at all and Thiem has a fine chance of levelling the career series against Wawrinka in conditions that the Swiss, for me, isn’t as well suited to.
Wawrinka should have been beaten by lucky loser Yoshihito Nishioka last night when the Japanese twice served for the match and ended up on the wrong side of a final set tie break.
Stan has yet to better this quarter final stage at Indian Wells and he’s yet to win a set in a last eight clash at this tournament and if we look at his stats here there’s a slight dip.
In the last year at main level on outdoor hard Wawrinka holds serve 84.4% of the time and breaks serve 22.2% of the time for a total of 106.6, but in his 29 matches at Indian Wells he only holds 80.2% of the time.
He does break serve more often here at 25.6%, but overall he’s a touch down on his recent average, while Thiem is the opposite. In Thiem’s last year on outdoor hard at main level he holds 79.9% of the time and breaks serve 26.6% of the time for an almost identical total to Wawrinka’s of 106.5.
But at Indian Wells in his 10-match career he holds serve almost 5% more often at 84.8% of the time, with the high bouncing surface probably the reason.
Thiem holds slightly less often at 24.6%, but his total of 109.4 at Indian Wells is impressive and for me it gives him the edge when also considering Wawrinka’s tough battle last night and mediocre record at this tournament.
The pair haven’t met since Thiem was ranked 49 in the world and never on outdoor hard, so the head-to-head offers little, and the Austrian seems to enjoy himself more here, while Stan’s flatter hits are tougher to produce consistently in these conditions.
I’d also be tempted to back ‘no tie breaks’ again here, with Thiem down at 0.07 breakers per set over the last year on outdoor hard and 1.82 is decent value again given the three-year figures at Indian Wells of only 36% of matches having tie breaks.
The other semi between Pablo Cuevas and Pablo Carreno Busta would appear on the bare service hold/break stats to favour PCB, whose outdoor main level hard court total of 106.9 trumps the 98.7 of Cuevas comfortably.
However, Cuevas has won four of their six career clashes, and it’s Cuevas who has a slight edge in career main draw matches at Indian Wells, with a 103.6 hold/break total to the 100 of PCB (admittedly from only six career matches).
I’d suggest there’s more chance of a breaker in this match, as Cuveas plays a lot of them (0.23 per set on outdoor hard at main level in the last year) but a price of 2.23 offers no betting value.
1 point win Thiem to beat Wawrinka at 2.07