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Sports Betting: Ability not a big factor in a deciding-set tie-break.

Byline: James Pyman

PUNTERS must remember that the US Open is the only Grand Slam where the players contest a tie-break in the deciding set, which eliminates the possibility of there being any enormous total games make-ups during the next fortnight, writes James Pyman.

The main conclusion from a previous Topspin, which looked in detail at players' records in final-set tie-breaks was that ability has little bearing on the outcome of these breakers.

Although we are now 12 months on from drawing that conclusion, nothing has happened in the past year to suggest that higher-ranked players outperform their lower-ranked counterparts in these tense situations and compelling evidence to con-firm this claim can be found in the table above.

Rafael Nadal (14.3 per cent strike-rate) and Andre Agassi (30) have terrible records, while Roger Federer's 54.5 per cent SR is just above average.

Should Nadal or Agassi find themselves in deciding-set tiebreak situations over the next fortnight, it could be worth opposing them in light of

this evidence.

They will almost certainly be favourites, despite the fact that invariably they have failed to perform in past final-set tie-breaks.

In contrast, it could be worth siding with the likes of Tommy Robredo (82.4 per cent SR), Jurgen Melzer (80), Nicolas Massu (80) and Feliciano Lopez (77.8) in these nervy set-deciders.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Aug 29, 2005
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