Fitness doubts over the top seeds could lead to another big priced finalist in Paris.
<div><h2>Paris Masters</h2><p><strong>Monday, October 28, Paris</strong></p><p>We’re onto week 44 of the ATP Tour and in Bercy, Paris for the final Masters event of 2019. We had a solid enough week in Basel with Federer taking the title about as comfortably as possible for a 2.62 winner.</p><p> </p><h2><strong>History & Context</strong></h2><p>Paris is the only Masters event played indoors and conditions are usually quick, though it is unusually variable for a tour level event. As the last event of the regular tour it is unsurprising that withdrawals, retirements, injuries and apathetic performances abound. It is a fine balancing act between looking for players likely to play well and players likely not to be fatigued. Form doesn’t seem to hold particularly strong with recent winner Sock and recent finalist Isner in particular managing to shake off poor recent records coming into Paris.</p><p>We have seen several long priced finalists (and winners) in Paris over the years and with most of the top seeds having fitness concerns that trend may well continue. Khachanov won the event last year as a 41 shot defeating Djokovic in the final, while Sock was a 81 winner in 2017 defeating Krajinovic, who was a qualifier but would have been at least over 200 outright. Isner made the final as a 201 shot the year before losing out in 3 sets to Murray. The only top seed to win the event since 1999 is Djokovic who took the title in 2014 and 2015 so it’s been an event where the top seeds have underperformed as a whole.</p><p> </p><h2>Top Half</h2><p>Djokovic heads the top half alongside fellow seeds Medvedev, Thiem, Tsitsipas, Bautista, Goffin, Schwartzman and Isner. It’s certainly possible that Schwartzman could upset Novak in the top quarter, but more likely we will see Djokovic face Tsitsipas in the quarter final followed by Medvedev in the semis. Djokovic is never easy to oppose but he looked to be struggling physically in Shanghai after having retired from the US Open, plus he lost his last match to both Tsitsipas and Medvedev, so I’m certainly happy to oppose the top seed.</p><p>Medvedev, Tsitsipas and Thiem are too short for me, while Bautista seems to be struggling physically. Goffin is a player with a very high peak but he has a poor record in Paris and has lost 11 of his last 12 against top 10 opposition. Schwartzman is a huge price and in good form, but the fast turnaround from Vienna is a worry and quick conditions are unlikely to suit. Isner is tempting given his phenomenal record in Paris, but he would have to overcome Medvedev in his second match which is a big negative. It must be noted, though, that Medvedev has played the Isner clone Opelka twice recently and he needed a final set tiebreak in both. If the Russian has any cumulative fatigue he is likely to get caught cold.</p><p><a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=164&a=f339dce1-88de-4994-ab6a-c24e019bdf3b&f=3"><img alt src="https://cmscdn.staticcache.org/assets/image/0003/1348572/WHC_27064_Updated-In-Play-Tennis-Insurance_1280x480NEW.jpg" style="width:100%;height:38px" /></a></p><h2>Bottom Half</h2><p>Nadal is the top seed in the bottom half alongside Federer, Zverev, Khachanov, Berrettini, Fognini, Monfils and Wawrinka. Federer and Nadal are both at 6 so the obvious play is to side with Federer given his fine form in Basel and advantage over Nadal in quick, indoor conditions. The Spaniard also got married under 2 weeks ago and is a fitness doubt after withdrawing from the Asian swing due to a wrist injury. However, Federer has a poor 24-12 record in Paris for a -9.7% ROI with just the 1 title in 13 attempts back in 2011 where he didn’t have to play Novak or Nadal and was priced under 1.36 for every match. He’s won just 1 of his last 13 Masters level events overall going back to 2017. I’m not convinced a price of 6 is value.</p><p>The obvious form pick is Berrettini who should enjoy the quick conditions, but his price of 34 is very adjusted and he has a poor record against the big 3 so far of 0-6 in sets with most being dominant losses: 6-1 6-2 6-2 7-6 6-4 6-1. Not to say that won’t change, but perhaps this is a good example of when to go against immediate form in hopes that Berrettini is tired or priced too short.</p><p>Zverev seems to be finding some form after a poor year and certainly has the pedigree to win this event, so he is an option, but at a price of 23 and with Verdasco or Coric as openers, players against whom he has a poor record, it may be wise to give it a round and reassess. Wawrinka pulled out of his last event and generally seems unlikely to go well in these conditions, while Monfils is struggling physically and Fognini is also unlikely to enjoy conditions.</p><p>Perhaps we could and take a chance on last year’s champion Khachanov at a huge price of 81 hoping that the trend of out of form winners will continue. He certainly has the pedigree to win this event as he showed defeating Djokovic last year and at twice the price of Berrettini he may be the better value in the bottom half.</p><p> </p><h2>Verdict</h2><p>I may well regret not taking Federer in the bottom half, but there are a lot of general concerns, plus the last player to beat him, Zverev, is in his quarter. The clear value for me lies in taking Isner in the top half and Khachanov in the bottom, with a possible view to add Zverev at around 21 if he looks in good form in his opening match.</p><p><strong>Best Bets: </strong></p><ul> <li>Karen Khachanov at 81 with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=8cb1fdf6-5659-4f16-a75b-679218b0115e&f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Join 10Bet Today!">10Bet</a></li> <li>John Isner at 81 with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=1ba923f3-5341-4bda-b457-0138ac61ae7a&f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Get in game with Betfred!">Betfred</a></li></ul></div>