ATP Tennis Betting: Federer could be tested by improving Bautista Agut

There’s Masters 1000 quarter final action in Montreal on Friday, with four matches scheduled for day five of the 2017 Coupe Rogers.

This is turning into another one of those weird Masters 1000 weeks that make little sense and we now have a situation where it’s possible to have a truly bizarre finalist in Montreal.

Robin Haase came here with a 6-8 record and a 93.1 hold/break total on outdoor hard over the past 12 months at main level, but he still cruised past Grigor Dimitrov in the final set on Thursday and into the last eight.

Diego Schwartzman came from 0-6 down to beat Jared Donaldson, while Gael Monfils lost from a set and 3-1 up against Roberto Bautista Agut in two tie breaks.

That’s not to mention Denis Shapovalov, who lost to Peter Polansky in the Granby Challenger last week, taking down Rafael Nadal.

I only printed out the first page of the outright betting odds, which went down as far as Frances Tiafoe at 250-1, but I needed the second page too, as Haase, Shapovalov and Schwartzman were all on page two and Mannarino just clung on to page one above Tiafoe.

On top of that it seems that nobody can decide on the speed of the courts, with Roger Federer saying: “on this surface you can't make it physical, it's too quick.”

He obviously didn’t watch any of Schwartzman or Monfils’ matches this week and it seems Federer is on his own in his assessment of the court speed, with Brad Gilbert (and for once I agree with him) saying: “it’s much slower than in years past.”

There have been a few more breakers than usual in Montreal so far this year, with the average for the Coupe Rogers over its last three stagings being 18 tie break matches by the end of round three – this year it was 22.

Roberto Bautista Agut vs Roger Federer

I said at the start of the tournament that RBA was one of the group of six players with an outdoor hard court service hold/break mark of at least 110, so it’s no surprise to see him in the quarter finals.

And there could be some value on the Spaniard here, thanks to his 0-6 career head-to-head record versus Federer, and the Swiss’s remarkable renaissance in 2017.

Perhaps fittingly for this peculiar 2017 season so far the only man to have beaten Federer on a hard court is Evgeny Donskoy – in quick conditions in Dubai earlier in the year.

Nobody saw that one coming and perhaps today could be the day for RBVA, whose hold/break mark is only 4.4% lower than Federer’s and he should be boosted by the memory of his close battle with Federer in Miami.

Federer won it in two tie breaks, having converted only two of 10 break chances and the Swiss went five from 13 yesterday in a very patchy performance against David Ferrer.

Indeed, Ferrer had 13 break point opportunities himself against Federer last night and while we can expect an improved showing from Roger tonight he’s not a machine and he’ll have to play a lot better.

Fed has already revealed his approach (not that it wasn’t predictable) saying: “you have to keep attacking and accept mistakes,” and we’ll see how often he hits his spots and if RBA’s defences can cope on what isn’t for me a quick surface.

RBA made the final on a genuinely fast surface at Masters 1000 level in Shanghai towards the end of last season and took Andy Murray to a tie break in the final, having beaten Novak Djokovic, so his results against the elite are improving.

He should have gone two sets up on Milos Raonic at the Australian Open too, so there’s plenty of cause for optimism for RBA’s chances in this one.

Both men have rather high tie breaks per set ratios of 0.20 and 0.23 respectively on outdoor hard over the past 12 months (36 matches for RBA and 22 for Federer) and each man’s mark is higher than Nick Kyrgios, Kevin Anderson, and Sam Querrey.

Federer’s 0.23 is higher than Milos Raonic’s 0.22 and the same as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s ratio, so 3.0 on tie break played here looks decent value, while around the same price on RBA +1.5 sets is another value option.

Obviously it’s a risky play taking on Federer at the moment, but it looks the value of the day to me.

Denis Shapovalov is now the youngest ever Masters 1000 and he’d have bitten your hand off for a quarter final at home versus Adrian Mannarino, who’s another sub-100 man in the hold/break stats over the last year at main level on outdoor hard.

I’d expect a dip from the 18-year-old though after the highs he’s had this week and that looks one to watch, while Alexander Zverev should confirm the form of last week against Kevin Anderson.

The remaining quarter final sees Robin Haase bring a 4-0 career series lead into his clash with Diego Schwartzman and on the pure hold/break stats there’s value on the Argentine here.

Even now Haase is still sub-100 at 99.0, while Schwartzman weighs in with 105.5, but the Argentine has had some very tough matches this week and clearly the match-up has been an issue for him to say the least.

After a couple of poor days in Montreal I’ll just take the one value bet on today.

Best Bet
1 point win over 0.5 tie breaks in Bautista Agut/Federer at 3.0