Indisputably, the first set of tennis matches is of great significance as it establishes the mood of the entire event. It is essential for players to get off on the right foot and stand greater chances of winning the match. The importance of the first set is of equal magnitude for tennis punters. There are many fans of the sport who have successfully incorporated the First Set Winner market into their tennis betting strategy.
For a tennis player to be successful, it takes more than talent and physical endurance. The psychological factor in tennis matches is of vital importance as well and winning the first set can have a great impact on the whole event.
Besides the First Set Winner bet type, another closely related market that we are going to examine in greater detail is the First Set/Match winner. We will also further elaborate on the significance of winning the first set in men’s and women’s tennis tournaments.
First Set Winner Bet Explained
The First Set Winner bet is among the most uncomplicated wagers that punters may choose from a bookmaker’s portfolio of markets. It involves predicting the winner of the first set of tennis matches.
To get a proper idea of the value of odds associated with this type of wager, we may draw a quick comparison with two other related markets – Match Winner and First Set/Match Winner. As fans of tennis betting most probably know, Match Winner markets involve predicting the winner of the match.
As far as the First Set/Match Winner market is concerned, it is also referred to as Double Result. Punters are supposed to choose both the winner of the first set and the winner of the entire match. This is a two-component betting variation that is more challenging than the standard Match Winner market. If any of the two components fails, the whole bet is said to be losing. Overall, with the First Set/Match Winner markets, punters are supposed to choose between four possible variants:
- Player A will win the first set and the entire match.
- Player A will win the first set, while Player B will win the entire match.
- Player B will win the first set, while Player A will win the entire match.
- Player B will win the first set and the entire match.
To get a more accurate idea of the markets mentioned above, we may have a look at an ATP Rome clash between Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka and explore the First Set Winner, Match Winner, and Set/Match Winner markets.
|ATP Rome, Italy|
Novak Djokovic vs Stan Wawrinka
|First Set Winner||Match Winner||Set/Match Winner|
|Novak Djokovic (1.11)||Novak Djokovic (1.05)||Novak Djokovic/Novak Djokovic (1.12)|
Stan Wawrinka/Novak Djokovic (8.85)
|Stan Wawrinka (9.97)||Stan Wawrinka (5.97)||Stan Wawrinka/Stan Wawrinka (15.21)|
Novak Djokovic/Stan Wawrinka (33.42)
Judging by the available odds, statistics, and the current form of both athletes, we may conclude that there is a genuine mismatch between Djokovic and Wawrinka. The clear favorite, Djokovic, is assigned First Set Winner odds of 1.11, and Match Winner odds as low as 1.05.
Converted into implied probability, these odds suggest a greater than 90% chance of winning for the Serb. To figure out the implied probability, we should simply take 1 and divide it by the Decimal odds (1/1.05=0.9523=95.23%). Therefore, whatever the result of the first set is, it will most probably have a restricted impact on the outcome of the match.
However, the effect of winning the first set is greater when tennis matches are characterized by, more or less, equally matched opponents. To illustrate the difference, we may examine the same betting markets for a women’s singles event from WTA Rome, Cori Gauff vs Maria Sakkari.
|WTA Rome, Italy|
Cori Gauff vs Maria Sakkari
|First Set Winner||Match Winner||Set/Match Winner|
|Cori Gauff (2.06)||Cori Gauff (2.17)||Cori Gauff/Cori Gauff (2.64)|
Maria Sakkari/Cori Gauff (9.54)
|Maria Sakkari (1.71)||Maria Sakkari (1.70)||Cori Gauff/Maria Sakkari (8.18)|
Maria Sakkari/Maria Sakkari (2.02)
In the first example, the odds of the underdog, Stan Wawrinka, for winning the first set and the match are as high as 15.21. Converted into implied probability, the odds suggest chances of winning at 6.57%. In the second example, however, the odds of the underdog, Cori Gauff, for winning the first set and the match are considerably lower – 2.64. Hence, the implied probability, in this case, equals 37.87%.
We may conclude that in matches where one player is heavily favored over another, the effect of winning the first set is considerably less substantial compared to matches featuring more closely matched opponents.
First Set Result’s Impact on Tennis Formats
As most tennis punters are probably aware, tennis matches are played in two types of formats – best-of-three and best-of-five sets formats. While most tennis matches are played in a best-of-three sets format, the men’s singles events at the four Grand Slam tournaments have two extra sets, if needed. As statistical data suggests, the first set result has a greater significance in the shorter format.
Yet another interesting fact concerning the men’s game is that the majority of the heavily favored athletes who have lost the first set, go on to win the match. This can be explained by the fact that due to the longer format they have more time to analyze their weak spots and improve their performance before winning.
Consequently, sets are more valuable in the women’s game than in the men’s. Winning or losing the first set impacts players’ chances of victory by approximately 15% more in best-of-three set format competitions than in best-of-five-sets ones. As we have already pointed out in the examples above, matches characterized by strong favorites make an exception. Heavily favored athletes, with a greater than 90% chance of winning might lose the first set but in the vast majority of cases, this would not affect the outcome of the match.
Punters interested in exploring the First Set Winner markets may have a look at statistics delivering data on the fast starters in tennis. Such players are characterized by winning a great percentage of the first sets. Another approach to First Set Winner markets is to analyze data on poor starters and take advantage of the odds when suitable opportunities arise.
The First Set Winner bets are among the most popular Set betting markets. At the end of the day, we may safely conclude that First Set Winner markets perfectly lend themselves to plenty of analyses and statistical research. Hence, the chances of placing more winning wagers are greatly increased.