ATP 2017 Most Aces Ivo Karlovic

Tennis - Season Special - 01 Nov 10:00

This is a 2 part tip on Ivo Karlovic to hit the most aces of any player in the 2017 tennis season, with a cover on John Isner.

The preview for this bet is long and so we will be splitting it across both tips. This is the first preview, and we suggest you read them in order.

This first tip will explain why backing Ivo to hit the most aces makes sense by comparing to the market leader. The second tip will explain who I think is being particularly over rated in this market.

The players in this market are Isner at 2.62, Raonic at 3.25, Karlovic at 3.5, Muller at 11, Cilic at 21, Kyrgios at 21, Groth at 34, Any Other at 34 and Del Potro at 41.

The odds on our three market leaders suggest one of Isner, Raonic and Karlovic wins the market 97.5% of the time.

This is unsurprising given that one of Isner or Karlovic has won the market 9 of the last 10 years, with Tsonga the only other player.

I am happy to focus almost exclusively on these three players. No one else in the field has ever won this market and I don't see anyone else having much of a chance. However, it makes very little sense to me that Isner and Raonic should be shorter than Karlovic.

John Isner is the market leader, presumably because he won this market last year narrowly edging Karlovic with a deep run in the last event of the main season, Paris Masters.

He is clearly less opposable than Raonic. In style he is the most similar player to Karlovic on tour.

He’s better from the baseline than Karlovic so relies less on clean winners from the serve, meaning he hits fewer aces than Karlovic.

Over the last 3 years (2014-2016) Isner has hit 3,464 aces, played 2,510 service games and made 1.38 aces per game.

This is Karlovic over the last 3 years (2014-2016): 3,867 aces, 2,533 service games, 1.53 aces per game.

That’s a big difference, Karlovic more than 100 aces clear of Isner on average per season for the last 3 years (and over 300 clear of Raonic).

It’s worth mentioning that 2016 was a standout season for Isner. He hit 1.5 aces per game, the highest ratio he has ever managed in a season.

It’s difficult to know exactly what to do with this information. I imagine it’s an outlier, and that Isner will go back to something like 1.4 in 2017. It could, however, signal Isner’s increasing reliance of service winners, which would make this market a dead heat between Isner and Karlovic. That would still make this bet good value.

It’s only one factor amongst many, too. If we look at all the years when both Karlovic and Isner have played over 50 matches (indicating they were relatively healthy, as they are now) we can see Karlovic has won 3 of the 4 with 2016 the one loss by only 28 aces.

In 2015 it was a landslide win for Karlovic with just under a 200 ace lead over Isner. In 2014 Karlovic edged Raonic by 80 aces (in Raonic’s highest ever aces count) and Isner was 150 behind.

In essence, Karlovic has generally hit more aces than Isner when they have both played, even though 2016 was a standout year.

Karlovic also won this market 3 years in a row (2007-9) before Isner was around scoring a huge 1,318 aces in 2007. He edged Andy Roddick, another big serving American, and Roger Federer both in 2008. Then in 2009 he once against beat Roddick.

After this point Karlovic was away from play with injury too consistently to keep up his average aces count. Even having said that he would have won this market 5 of the last 10 years.

Since 2014 he has looked healthy overall, though some recurring injuries are flaring up periodically. His age is the main worry. At 37 retirement and injury are more likely. However, he spoke positively about his health and enjoyment of tennis in a recent interview and despite being 37 he is playing the best tennis of his long career.

So in summary.. He’s won it 2 of the last 3 years, 5 of the last 10, 5 of 6 seasons (not including 2010-2013) where he was healthy for most of the season since turning pro, and nearly won it last year. He has the highest aces per game of any player on tour and heads the ATP Leaderboard for highest total aces count of any player in history.

Unless injury becomes an issue for prolonged periods, which it might be probably won’t, I would expect 900 to 1,500 aces from Karlovic, especially given he’s getting older and more and more serve reliant. That’s a big number for most players to match with the only other real contender Isner, unless players like Raonic, Muller, Kyrgios or Cilic increase their ace count dramatically in 2017.

Isner has hit over 1,000 aces in 5 of the last 10 years. Unlike Karlovic, he was fit for those years and able to play over 50 matches in every year.

That’s the area where Isner has the advantage not just because he’s been fit but also because he’s a better player so runs deeper into tournaments and therefore plays more matches to accrue aces.

He’s still played fewer service games over the last 3 years, however, at 2,510 to 2,533, and this is a period of time where both have been, for the large part, in reasonable health.

This is likely due to the fact Karlovic plays more tiebreaks against lower ranked players as he is even weaker from the baseline. Karlovic also plays more of the smaller events where he usually runs deep.

Karlovic has managed 1,000 aces or more in 4 of the last 10 years, but 4 of those years were when he wasn’t healthy and didn’t play over 50 matches. In 6 years where he played enough matches to be deemed healthy he went over 1,000 on 4 occasions.

Plus when he has a good year he will surpass Isner because he hits more aces per game. An average season for Isner is about 800-1,000, for Karlovic about 900-1,100, a good season about 1,200-1,300 and 1,300-1,500 respectively.

So for Isner to win he has to have a good year, and Karlovic has to have an average year, again barring a poor season due to injury for either/both. Yet Karlovic is the 3rd favouorite.

I would have had Karlovic at 2.25 and Isner at 2.5, suggesting one of these two wins the market 84%. Barring injury I think only one of these two will win this market.

There are simply no other players on tour who stand at 6’11” and play such an extremely serve dominated style. The only way someone else wins this market is if Isner and Karlovic both don’t play for a long part of the season.

Then someone like Muller would have a chance and he’s at 10/1. He’s a 6’ 4” leftie and has hit 1.33 aces per game the last 3 years. He’s come 3rd and 4th the last 2 years. With Raonic changing his service style Muller would have a chance were both Isner and Karlovic away from the game a fair bit.

I doubt it though. I think one of those two will win the vast majority of the time and I am happy opposing the rest of the field. The stake is weighted towards Karlovic as that is where I see the most value.

I am suggesting a 20 stake on Karlovic at 3.5 and a 10 stake partial cover on Isner at 2.62.
TennisPilot +2770.35
Stake: 20 3.50Skybet
Best Odds

Posted 11 months ago

Bets Placed

Simon (+14,761.75) bet £16.67 on this tip.


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