Two weeks ago
Nov 8, 2019

ATP Finals: How data can help with your predictions

Who are the contenders?

How can data inform your prediction?

Could there be an upset?

ATP Finals: How data can help with your predictions

The ATP Finals concludes the 2019 tennis season, and with a competitive-looking field assembled in London, this preview discusses the eight contenders for the title.

Who are the contenders?

Sunday sees the start of the ATP Finals at the magnificent O2 Arena in London, with the eight best players on tour this season fighting for a $9M prize pool, and a maximum of 1500 ranking points for the winner, assuming that a player wins all of their group matches.

There’s a reasonable chance that Novak Djokovic will need those maximum points to end the season as world number one. In the season-long rankings, which will be the rankings to kick off the 2020 season, Djokovic is currently standing at 8945 points, 640 shy of Rafa Nadal’s 9585.

Both of these two players are a long way in front of third-placed Roger Federer (6190) who could be vulnerable to the challenge of the rapidly improving Daniil Medvedev this week (5705).

Conditions at the O2 are likely to be quite medium-paced for an indoor hard court. 64.7% of service points have been won at the venue in the last three seasons, a figure which is almost identical to the ATP indoor mean over the same time period.

However, while these figures would not anticipate conditions to be particularly quick for an indoor venue, it’s still worth noting that a medium-paced indoor court will still play quicker than the majority of other ATP Tour venues on other surfaces.

Djokovic dominated the event between 2012 and 2015, winning four consecutive titles, but has seen that dominance wane, subsequently losing two of the last three finals - in 2016 against Andy Murray, and last season versus Alexander Zverev.

How can data inform your prediction?

That title in 2018 for Zverev was certainly not anticipated, and neither was Grigor Dimitrov in 2017, so relative outsiders have won the last two events - even in the presence of the elite three here, a more unheralded winner is evidently possible.

The table below illustrates some relevant data for the eight finalists, which should give some insight into the chances of the contenders:

The statistics behind the players

Player

Seed

Group

Current Tournament Winner Odds

2019 Indoor Hard Service Points Won %

2019 Indoor Hard Return Points Won %

2019 Indoor Hard Combined Points Won %

2019 Record vs Top 10 Opposition (All Surfaces)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rafa Nadal

1

Agassi

7.25

75.1

35.6

110.7

8-5

Novak Djokovic

2

Borg

2.10

75.4

41.8

117.2

8-4

Roger Federer

3

Borg

5.18

73.1

46.7

119.8

6-6

Daniil Medvedev

4

Agassi

5.18

66.7

43.9

110.6

8-6

Dominic Thiem

5

Borg

23.84

68.3

36.0

104.3

6-3

Stefanos Tsitsipas

6

Agassi

21.76

71.8

35.1

106.9

6-8

Alexander Zverev

7

Agassi

19.69

65.3

35.5

100.8

1-5

Matteo Berrettini

8

Borg

46.63

68.3

33.2

101.5

4-4

While the data samples aren’t huge for some players (notably Nadal, Federer and Zverev) for indoor hard court matches this season, they also aren’t hugely out of line with more medium-term numbers with the exception of Federer (112% combined service/return points won in the last two years on indoor hard).

However, what the figures above do clearly illustrate is that there is a marked difference between the top four players in the rankings (as well as in the outright market here at Pinnacle) and the remainder of the field, with Djokovic a clear market favourite to win the tournament, with both Federer and Medvedev identically priced - Nadal is slightly further back.

These prices, as well as the numbers above, are a clear indication of Medvedev’s dramatic improvement this season (he was ranked just inside the top 20 at the start of the season) and how much better he and his top four rivals are compared to the outsiders in the tournament.

Could there be an upset?

Statistically, it is difficult to make a case for any of those four outsiders, with the possible exception of Stefanos Tsitsipas, who has also improved indoors this season and could potentially take advantage of any fitness doubts surrounding Rafa Nadal.

The Spaniard withdrew from his semi-final last week in Paris against Denis Shapovalov with an abdominal problem, and his fitness levels remain to be seen in advance of the tournament.

The likes of Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and another improver in Matteo Berrettini look to be largely making up the numbers here this season. However, any of those qualifying from the group stages next Friday, in advance of Saturday’s semi-finals, would be a surprise.

Odds subject to change

Betting Resources - Empowering your betting

Pinnacle’s Betting Resources is one of the most comprehensive collections of expert betting advice anywhere online. Catering to all experience levels our aim is simply to empower bettors to become more knowledgeable.