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Visualizations of the Final Day of Round 2 at the 2016 U.S. Open

The final day of Round 2 at the 2016 U.S. Open brought some more upsets and nail-biting battles. I have selected 6 of the most contested matches of the day and created point-by-point prediction charts to track the ebbs and flows of each. The expectations for each match are based on player Elo ratings. These ratings tells us how capable a player should be of winning a match against their drawn opponent if both players are playing to their expected ability.

As the match progresses, predictions are updated with the current score. So, at each point, the predictions are essentially asking how likely is it that this player will win now given the score he and his opponent have earned?

You can hover over any point in the match to determine who was serving and what the score was at that stage. The scores shown indicate the sets, games, and points won for the server-returner.

Victorious Varva Lepchenko (6-4 4-6 6-4)

One of the most surprising wins on Day 4 was American Lepchenko’s three-set defeat of Timea Bacsinszky. Going into the match, Lechenko was predicted to have just a 30% chance of pulling out a victory. Lepchenko threatened to turn that forecast on its head in the first set when she put a set on the board after 10 games. At this point in the match the odds were on Lepchenko’s side. Her win probability stayed between 60 and 70% for most of the second set, until the 9th game when Bacsinszky forced and won a break point and closed out the set on her next service game. This put all the cards on the outcome of the third, during which the chances for Lepchenko were back to her chances at the start of the match. We can see from the chart that the 9th game, again, became a critical one. After 2 exchanges of breaks, the 9th game saw the Lepchenko’s win chances swing dramatically from one point to the next as she fought off the threat of 3 break points. The confidence of holding that service game must have given Lepchenko the confidence, despite the odds against her, to take the win. Lepchenko broke Bacsinszky’s serve to take the match with one of the most definitive return games of the tournament.

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Pavlyuchenkova Safely Thru (6-2 4-6 7-6(5))

In another Day 4 three-setter on the women’s side, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won a third-set tiebreaker over Kristina Mladenovic to secure her place in the next round. With a 64% pre-match chance of winning, Pavlyuchenkova went into Round 2 the favorite, but Mladenovic didn’t make it easy for her. By taking the second set, Mladenovic evened the odds. Things got even shakier for Pavlyuchenkova in the third set when Mladenovic broke her serve after just 4 points. This was the start of a tug-of-war over 7 service games in which 6 breaks of service occurred. We can see from the huge swings in win predictions in the third that this was one of the most topsy-turvy sets of the tournament. It all came down to the tiebreak and, by managing to hold one more point on serve than Mladenovic, Pavlyuchenkova edged out the win by the smallest of margins.

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Evans Earns an Upset (6-4 6-4 7-5 6-2)

On the men’s side, Daniel Evans’ earned an upset over a Alexander Zverev. Evans’ had just a 31% chance of winning this match when the first serve was hit. Evans was on the attack right away, breaking Zverev’s serve in the first game of the match. From that point on, Evans’ steadily turned the odds in his favor, winning the first and second sets. The only real threat in his course came in the second game of the second set when his serve was broken. Evans got that break back in the fifth and earned another break in the seventh. At that point, Evans’ could spare the third set and still hold the edge going into the fourth set. When Evans broke Zverev’s serve in the third game of the final set, he sent out the message that he wasn’t planning to make the second round his last this year. By the fifth game, Evans chances were at 80% and his win statistically assured.

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Dimitrov Fights to Stay In (4-6 6-4 3-6 6-4 6-2)

One of the most up-and-down men’s matches of the day was Grigor Dimitrov’s 5-set battle with Jeremy Chardy. Dimitrov went into the match the strong favorite with a win chance of 73%. That edge seemed in question when Chardy took the first set. Dimitrov fought back in the second to regain his advantage. Then a massive lapse in the seventh game of the third set, when Dimitrov became the first player of the set to lose his serve, turned the tables once again. The outcome was a coin toss at that point, until Dimitrov won 2 breaks over 5 games and gradually brought his win chances back into the majority. By the fifth, it might have seemed any man’s game, but Dimitrov’s overall expectations and early break in the first break helped him to cruise to the finish line.

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Lorenzi's Topsy-Turvy Triumph (3-6 6-2 6-2 6-7(1) 7-5(3))

Hands down the biggest win of the day has to go to Paolo Lorenzi. Lorenzi faced-off against World No. 31 Gilles Simon and the stat heads gave the Italian just a 21% chance of getting past the Frenchman. The win prediction chart for Lorenzi (below) show the mountain he had to climb to have the probabilities in his favor. After going down in the first set, Lorenzi’s chances were less than 10%–abysmal levels. It took digging deep in the second and third, when Lorenzi somehow found a way to break Simon 5 times while being broken only once, that he finally had a positive chance of pulling out a match win. The fourth set became a blood bath of breaks that saw Lorenzi’s win probability reach a peak of 90% in the seventh game only to plummet to 25% by the end of the set after being broken in all of his remaining service games and winning only 1 point in the tiebreak. The final set was a near repeat of the fourth with only two service holds over 12 games. It came down to a tiebreak again but this time Lorenzi found a way to forget the tiebreak slaughter of the fourth set and carried out the win when it was most needed.

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Ferrer Outlasts the Fog (6-0 4-6 5-7 6-1 6-4)

When fans saw that Fabio Fognini and David Ferrer were going to play in the second round, they had to expect an epic was in store. And neither player disappointed. At No. 13 in the world, David Ferrer had the odds strongly on his side at the start of the match with a forecast of 70% of winning. When the last match of the day got underway, it looked like we wouldn’t get much of a show as Ferrer took the first set at love. But, in typical Fognini fashion, being down seemed to set the Fog on fire. Fognini battled a 17% win chance going into the second to close out the second and third set with a one break lead over Ferrer. By the fourth, Ferrer’s chances were at a low of 40%. But he turned things around in the second game with an early break of Fognini’s serve that Fognini never managed to regain. By the fifth set everyone expected, Ferrer had regained the edge but his chances were not as certain as at the start of the match. Things got even more concerning for his chances when the players exchanged breaks in the first two games. The next major turning point was Ferrer saving a break point in the fifth game then converting a break in 2 in the eighth. At that point, the probabilities were heavily on Ferrer’s side. Still, it took saving a break point and one missed match point opportunity to take the match in the tenth, which Ferrer eventually did it.

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