Exhibition Matches, 3rd July 2020

I have posted this comment a few times in the past but I want to repeat it here. I normally will not touch exhibition matches. The main reason is that we aren’t usually locked down for a global pandemic. That means there will be “proper” main tour matches on that offer player who are motivated as there is more at stake. Exhibitions are really used either as a piss about or to gain some match fitness and blow away a few cobwebs.

So why am I entertaining the thought of trading exhibitions now? Covid-19 will keep us away from main tour tennis for over four months instead of just for the December off-season. Not only are the players rusty but we as traders will also be rusty. I traded some of the early exhibitions in Germany but since then I have stayed away. This week I traded 2 days of the Czech Republic. The matches were excellent for trading. The players seemed happy to be back on court and appeared to be motivated to play well.

So with a month to go before the tours start again I will be picking out matches that look to give us decent trading opportunities.

***However these are still exhibitions and I strongly recommend using reduced stakes.

Ok, now we have that out of the way, on with the show.

I have picked 3 venues that look interesting.

WTA in Switzerland. On clay. First match starts at 1 pm. Players involved include Svitolina, Swiatek, Voegele and Golubic. Most of today’s matches probably won’t be competitive but there are 1 or 2 that should be ok.

ATP All American Cup. On hard courts. First match at 5 pm. All 4 matches look interesting.

WTA Young Kings Scholarship. On clay. First match is at 3 pm. All matches look good.

WTA Elle Spirit, Switzerland

As I write this I have not been able to find out any changes to rules. For example a lot of the exhibitions have 2 normal sets and if a deciding set is required it is a tie break (first to 10 points). The players seem to be playing more than 1 match per day so this is the likely format. I will update this post when I can confirm this.

Betfair do not have these matches. I have asked them if they plan to add them but haven’t had a reply yet (11 am)

I’ll leave this event for today and check it tomorrow!

The WTA Young Kings Scholarship

These matches are also not on Betfair! Their customer service seems to be on a long coffee break and they have not replied to my request to add the matches.

So I will leave it at the All American Cup matches for today. Hopefully Betfair get their act together tomorrow.

ATP All American Cup

These matches were added to Betfair just after 11 am. They are playing 2 normal sets with a tie break to 10 points for any deciding set.

Querrey (1.79) v Tiafoe (2.19) – prices shown are from Pinnacle

At 1 pm on Betfair: Querrey 1.64, Tiafoe 2.36

Due to start at 5 pm

Querrey has won both their previous matches. The most recent was on clay at the French Open in 2018. He won in straight sets. Their other meeting was on a hard court in Shanghai in October 2017. He won in 2 close sets including a tie break in set 2.

Tiafoe has not played a match since Indian Wells in March.

Querrey has played 2 events during the lockdown. He wasn’t too impressive in the Matchplay 120 Exhibition at the start of June and needed 3 sets to beat 945 ranked Zachary Svajda. Really that wasn’t a huge surprise as he had not played a competitive match for over 4 months. He also played an event earlier this week where he reached the final having beaten Reilly Opelka and Mackenzie McDonald in the round robin matches. He lost easily to Tenny Sandgren in the final. They played an amended format for those matches with sets being first to 4 games and a tie break at 3-3.

Tiafoe really should be at a disadvantage today. Americans love to practice their serve and so he will be relying on his serve to keep him in the match.

If Betfair opens at around 1.79 then it looks a decent price on Querrey. I’d take him at 2.10. Even with Querrey having more lockdown matches I think the sets will be close so I’ll be removing liability with a break or a set in my favour.

Sandgren (1.67) v Paul (2.39) – Again, prices are from Pinnacle.

At 1 pm on Betfair Sandgren 1.58, Paul 2.42

Paul leads their previous matches 2-1. All their matches were on clay with the 2 most recent being in April last year. Paul won those in straight sets. Sandgren won in a 3rd set tie break in 2017.

Paul has played 3 matches during the lockdown. They were in early May on hard courts. He was underdog in all 3 matches though took the opening sets from Kecmanovic and Opelka. Only Hurkacz beat him in 3 sets. The matches were played with sets being first to 4 games and a tie break at 3-3.

Sandgren has been more active since the main tour was cancelled. He has played 7 matches in June. He won the Altec Styslinger event earlier this week beating Querrey in the final.

Paul has better overall results in the last 12 months. He also has better hard court results.

Sandgren seems to have played himself into decent form. He had a very easy win over Querrey. Having played more matches this month also gives him an edge. Fatigue from matches earlier in the week should not be an issue as they were a reduced format.

However this can be very close. I wouldn’t want to back Sandgren below 1.90. It is probably worth a lay of the set 1 winner too.

Isner (1.87) v Fritz (2.08) – Price from Pinnacle.

At 1 pm on Betfair: Isner 1.9, Fritz 2.04

Head to heads are 2-2. Fritz has won their last 2 matches. Both those matches were on hard courts and the most recent was In February in Acapulco. Fritz won in straight sets. His other win was in Auckland in January 2019 and he won in 2 tie break sets.

Isner’s last win over Fritz was at Wimbledon 2017. He won in straight sets though the sets were close.

Overall results in the last 12 months slightly favour Isner. His last match was the loss to Fritz in February in Acapulco. Fritz lost in the final to Nadal in that tournament. He played just 1 match since then which was in a Davis Cup match. Both players are likely to be rusty.

As usual Isner will be relying on his serve. He will have hit 1000’s of serves during lockdown. His problems may arise if Fritz is able to get the return in play.

Laying the 1st set winner seems like a decent plan. I don’t expect many breaks of serve. I give Isner the smallest of edges so the value is on Fritz at the start.

Johnson (2.78) v Opelka (1.52) – prices from Pinnacle.

At 1pm on Betfair: Johnson 2.62, Opelka 1.44

Their head to heads are 1-1. Opelka beat him earlier this week on a hard court in 2 sets (4-3, 4-1).

Johnson’s win came on grass in Eastbourne in June last year. He won in 2 close sets.

Their 12 month win percentages are quite even although Opelka has the higher ROI. It is the same story on hard courts.

Johnson has played 6 matches during lockdown and has lost his last 5. He was only pre match underdog in one of those losses which was against Opelka this week. He has not won a single set sine beating Ernesto Escobedo at the end of May.

Opelka won the title in Delray beach in February. That was his last tournament before everything was cancelled. He has won 4 of his 8 matches in lockdown.

It is hard to go with Johnson given his lockdown performances. Opelka is currently 1.44 on Betfair so we are unlikely to get a price worth taking on him. I would want at least 1.80.

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