Yesterday’s matches went pretty much as expected! Todays first match doesn’t look quite so straight forward for us.
14:00 – Wawrinka v Berdych
This is a tough one to work out. Berdych clearly comes into this match in better form with a title in Stockholm and a semi final in Paris. He started the year very well but his form faded mid season. I thought he had peaked too soon but whilst he hasn’t looked as dominant in his matches as he did earlier in the year he is getting the job done/
Wawrinka has played some decent tennis is his recent matches but his lack of confidence has meant he has been unable to close sets out when in a strong position. He has lost 4 of his last 5 matches and in his only win which was over Thiem in Paris he started the match superbly but so nearly threw it away winning 6-4, 7-6.
The court is slow which takes something away from the big servers. If Wawrinka was in top form then this would favour him with his better shot making ability but I don’t really see what he can look back on from recent matches to gain confidence.
One thing against Berdych is that in his 4 appearances at the Tour Finals he has never won his opening match. He lost last year to Wawrinka and his other first matches were against Murray and Djokovic (twice) so it may not be significant. It does add that touch of doubt though!
Berdych starts at 1.81 and I have to go with him for the win. I will wait to see how they start but am tempted to place part stake on him from the start. Wawrinka has been starting his matches reasonably well so we have a good chance of a higher entry on Berdych.
Update: Wawrinka won 6-1, 6-1. Awful, nervy performance from Berdych and Wawrinka found some form from nowhere.
So, now to this evening’s match. Let’s see if I can get this one as wrong as the first!
20:00 – Djokovic v Cilic
Head to heads are 10-0 to Djokovic (I think. I have lost a little confidence in Tennis Insight). They have played three times this season with their most recent, the Wimbledon quarter final, being the closest. That went to 5 sets but Djokovic has not beaten him in straight sets this season. Prior to 2014 Cilic had managed to win just one set in their 7 matches and that was in a tie break so he has made huge progress in their battles.
Cilic found some amazing form at the US Open beating Federer, Berdych and Nishikori. He was playing a level of tennis that looked almost unbeatable. I doubt he will ever play at that level for so many consecutive matches again but he at least knows that he is capable of it.
Not surprisingly Cilic’s form dipped after the US Open but he still manged to win the title in Moscow and the quarter finals in Beijing though his draw in Beijing was a little on the soft side.
Djokoivc hasn’t lost a match at the O2 for the last 2 years and he won’t want to be risking losing his number 1 ranking so will be super motivated.
I hope Cilic can make a match of it but nerves are likely to be an issue for him. There is no value on Djokovic at the starting prices but maybe Cilic can push the price up in the first set. Unfortunately I expect him to be stronger in the second set as Raonic was last night so we may never get a decent price to back Djokovic.