ATP Tennis Betting: Raonic offers value in Zverev quarter final clash

Friday is quarter finals day in the 2017 Internazionali BNL d’Italia, with the ATP action from the Foro Italico starting from 11:00 UK time.

This desperate week in the Eternal City continued on its merry way on Thursday morning when an injured David Goffin limped out of the Rome Masters.

Then Kei Nishikori lost a tie break in set one that put him firmly on the back foot against Juan Martin Del Potro after fighting his way back into the set following a very slow start.

That breaker was always likely to be the key to the match once it got to that stage and we just can’t buy a win at the moment, although those who took my advice in the Milos Raonic and Alexander Zverev matches would have been collecting.

Now that we’re at the quarter final stage of the Rome Masters we see far fewer tie breaks than in the early rounds and over the last five years only four of the 18 quarter finals have featured a tie break (22%).

But that could all change this year, as the likes of John Isner and Milos Raonic are into the last eight. 

Alexander Zverev vs Milos Raonic

The opening match of the day in Rome on Friday is another that the layers can’t decide upon, but there does seem to be a trend forming lately of Zverev being priced up too short.

The layers seem to be buying into the whole ‘future number one’ thing, just like they did with Grigor Dimitrov and consequently Zverev is being put in at prices that his results and stats don’t really deserve.

Today the young German is weaker than his opponent based on the main level clay court service hold/break stats over the last 12 months, with Raonic totalling 108.8 (89.7% holds/19.1% breaks), and Zverev 106.4 (80.7% holds/25.7% breaks).

Not a huge amount in it, but slight advantage to Raonic and the Canadian will surely be the fresher player and he’s definitely the one with the greater experience at this level.

Raonic is contesting his 21st Masters 1000 quarter final on Friday, while for Zverev this is just his third and he’s yet to win one, so for me I’d have Raonic slight favourite.

Zverev has never seen this serve of Raonic’s up close before, having never played the Canadian, and his record against big servers is patchy (11-8 versus the ones on my list), but not bad for a young player.

Looking further into their stats on clay over the last year it’s actually Raonic that creates more break point chances per game at 0.59, although again there’s very little in it, with Zverev at 0.56, but the Canadian has certainly improved that return game a lot.

And with Raonic holding serve almost 90% of the time I like the -1.5 games on the handicap at 2.20 here.

John Isner vs Marin Cilic

With the run I’ve been on of late it might be time to test the water and see if I can derail what should be pretty much a certainty – and that’s the chances of a tie break in this match.

Isner and Cilic have met on seven prior occasions and in those matches Isner has held serve 91.3% of the time and Cilic 95.2% of the time, so the chances of over 12.5 games in set one are probably better than 2.50.

Indeed, three of their last four opening sets have gone to breakers and their only prior clash on clay ended 7-6, 7-6, although that was at altitude in Madrid.

It’s always tricky trying to weight up what you’ll get from the inconsistent Cilic, who, it should be noted, had beaten Novak Djokovic in straight sets the day before playing Isner the last time they met and Cilic ended up losing 6-4, 6-3.

You know pretty much exactly what you’ll get from Isner, who served his way past Stan Wawrinka on Thursday, and he’s now up at 93.8% holds and 0.55 tie breaks per set on clay in the last year after that Wawrinka match.

If Cilic is going to break here it probably won’t be more than once, but I’ve been busting all sorts of trends this clay swing and let’s see if I can do it again.

Dominic Thiem is turning into quite the match point-saving machine these days and he was at it again on Thursday, holding off three match balls against Sam Querrey, to record his eighth career win from match point down.

How many of those have come against my players I’m not sure, but it’s at least one after Grigor Dimitrov last week.

On Friday he faces Rafa Nadal and surely that’s too much to ask of the Austrian after another very tough match on Thursday.

Thiem will probably be competitive in set one, but I’d be tempted by set two unders in these circumstances.

The final match of the day sees Juan Martin Del Potro take on Novak Djokovic and I like the 2-1 to Djokovic here at 3.80.

Delpo played well in spells against Nishikori, but his second serve always looked vulnerable against Nishikori, so surely it will again when he takes on Djokovic in slow conditions at night that will surely favour the Serb.

Djokovic has appeared a bit more like his old self in Rome this week and in his 17 prior matches against the Argentine Djokovic has only been above 1.50 once and that was back in 2008 at the Masters Cup in Shanghai.

The Serb hasn’t beaten Delpo in straight sets in his last seven tries and I’d imagine that Del Potro’s forehand will be enough to give him a set again if he combines it with a good day from the service line.

With just the backhand slice though and occasional double-hander he’ll do very well indeed to get the win in these night time conditions.

Best Bets
2 points win Raonic -1.5 games to beat Zverev at 2.20
2 points win over 12.5 games in set one of Cilic/Isner at 2.50