First week of tennis trading in 2012

The first week of tennis trading in 2012 has come and gone. It’s been an interesting week due to a series of events, but probably the most highlighted fact was that we have had a series of injuries and retirements. Federer, Florian Mayer, Polona Hectog, Serena Williams, Steve Darcis, Tommy Haas, Bogomolov Jr., Lisicki, Penneta, Clijsters, Georges, Volandri and Kuznetsova have all withdrawn from matches in the first or early second week tournaments. Some reasons of retirement are more serious than others, but overall there have been 13 withdrawals at the time I am writing this post. The good news is that most of the mentioned players will be fit and ready to play at the Australian Open is less then a week’s time.

Now let’s take a look at what actually took place during the first week.

On the men’s side we had the tournaments in Qatar, Chennai and Brisbane, all three being 250 events and on the women’s side we’ve had the tournaments in Auckland and Brisbane.

Let’s start with the women’s tournaments. A big winner during the past week has been Kaia Kanepi.Looking over her Grand Slam numbers, you’ll see that she’s made quarter-finals at all Grand Slam events, except for the Australian Open where her best performance is only a relatively modest 3rd round, achieved in 2009. With a more accesible draw, she could finally top her best performance at the first Grand Slam of the year. Unfortunately for her, winning a tournament before the AO, can both help and harm her changes of putting on a good performance in Melbourne. It could help her in terms of having a boost in confidence that she can take on anyone, and harm her because she is in the stoplight, people having more expectation from her and players being more aware of the threat she poses. But then again, she is 26 years old, and if there is a time in which she can step up her game, it’s now. One more thing to mention about her, is that her win last year, in Tokyo, against the world no. 1 Wozniacki also helped her with the belief that a top 15 (maybe top 10) ranking is something within her grasp and something she can be aiming for.Of course, it could easily be said that, if Clijsters wouldn’t have gotten injured or if Kvitova would have played, things could have been different. But in tennis, as in trading, it’s about taking full advantage of the opportunities that arise, and Kanepi has managed to do that very well during this past week.

In Auckland, the 2008 Wimbledon semi-finalist, Jie Zheng made a successful comeback by managing to go all the way and win the tournament. Winning a tournament is always nice but it’s even nicer when your matches bring up some opportunities for tennis traders to take advantage of. Two such opportunities were available in her last two matches.Both in the semi-finals and final she lost the first set with a convincing scoreline, and managed afterwards to regroup and get the win. While I wasn’t able to catch and trade the final, I did manage to trade the semi-final in which she played Kuznetsova. After she lost the first set 6-2, she traded at 1.10 and lower with 1.10 being a clear cut entry point.She is a great mover and can put a lot of balls back in play.Provided that she stays healthy, I’m sure we’ll see more of her.

On the men’s side, the big winner surely has to be the young Canadian, Milos Raonic.He won the Chennai Open, which is considered to be a weaker tournament due to it’s weaker roster, with none of the top 5 players taking part in the event.But even so, winning is never easy and Milos managed to put another title under his belt. The final was particularly interesting,  both from a neutral watcher’s perspective as well as a tennis trader’s one. It was a three setter, which is always good, with all three sets ending in a tie-break. There were no breaks of serve but Raonic did trade as low as 1.17 with 1.35-1.40 being a good entry point. Raonic is set to be a future top 10 player with the serve he possesses but I’m afraid that for us traders, it will not make much of a difference, because he is a very talked about player, which makes him overvalued most of the times.

In the other two tournaments on the men’s side, Murray won in Brisbane and Tsonga in Qatar. Not that much to mention about Brisbane, except for the fact that Dolgopolov put on a good performance, having had two matches in which he was down by a set and a break, and managing to come back and win.In Qatar, the major news was that Federer withdrew only for the second time in his career, which permitted Tsonga to have an easy access to the final where he eventually won. Monfils played a very good match in the semi final, defeating Nadal in straight sets. I wouldn’t put to much emphasis on any Monfils win, since he is a player that can be up and down, not only in matches but during a season, month or tournament. He does have good shots, a reliable serve and impressive counter-punching abilities but all the injuries he has had during his career have limited his potential.

This first week of the year also hosted the Hopman cup, which isn’t a tournament from which any clear conclusions can be drawn in reference to the form of the participating players, but as in recent years, there have been some matches worth noting. The Czech Republic, composed of the Berdych and Kvitova, won the cup. But the players I want to mention is Kvitova and Bartoli. Both of these players, posted good numbers, and while Kvitova is the world no.2 and is always expected to do well, Bartoli can be undervalued at times, and I would look out for that during the current season. She looked very fit and determined to put on a good performance, and if she does get a decent draw at the AO, she could go deep in the tournament. But I’d like to see how she does in Sydney because at the Hopman Cup it was an indoor tournament and at Sydney it’s outdoor and that could pose a few more challenges.

We’ll see how things go in the second week as there isn’t much to go until the start of the AO.

And in other news, both related and unrelated to tennis trading:

  • The Geeks Toy software is now available for Betdaq as well – not that much of a help for tennis traders since the Betdaq markets for tennis matches are untradable in-play due to a number of reasons.
  • Mark Iverson posted a three part post with some thoughts after his first year as a full time trader – interesting read for anyone looking into becoming a full time trader
  • The NBA season is well and truly underway which is always nice but it doesn’t help me that much. In the last seasons, NBA matches were a good way to supplement the lack of tennis matches in the month of December, but due to the NBA lockdown that did not help at all this past December.
  • Messi won his 3rd consecutive Ballon d’Or and Thierry Henry scored a goal for Arsenal in the FA Cup just like old times.

Image Credit: Ken Rosewall Arena

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