ATP Paris Masters, 14:00 – Djokovic v Raonic
This isn’t the final we were expecting. Raonic had not beaten Federer in their previous 6 matches and had only ever broken his serve once. Yet he came through their semi final in straight sets.
Djokovic has also had a tough route to the final. On paper at least. Kohlschreiber and Monfils put up a fight but Djokovic did just enough to get the job done. In the quarter final he was up against a tired Murray who had achieved his goal of making the World Tour Finals. Nishikori in the semi final had also secured his place in London with a superb comeback against Ferrer. Emotionally he didn’t have much left.
Raonic could have been in the same position as Murray and Nishikori. He had beaten Federer to ensure he would be at the O2 Arena but still came out to beat Berdych in 3 sets in his semi final. Now he is in his first Masters final.
They have played three times. Each match was on clay and was won by Djokovic. Raonic has won just one of their 9 sets which was, not surprisingly, in a tie break.
Raonic’s best and perhaps only chance today is to take 2 sets in tie breaks. Djokovic is protecting his number 1 ranking. Federer has an outside chance of snatching the year end number one spot and Djokovic defending his title today will make it almost safe.
Djokovic starts at 1.20 which is too low and is worth a lay. Raonic is likely to be nervous but really has nothing to lose today and should really go for it. I think we have a fair chance of seeing a higher price on Djokovic. I think his experience of playing the really big matches will not allow Raonic many chances.
WTA Tournament of Champions, 16:00 – Petkovic v Pennetta
This isn’t an easy one to work out. Head to heads are 2-2 with Pennetta winning their only 2014 meeting. Petkovic was on her way back from injury and yet still took it to 3 sets.
Petkovic started the week poorly but has grown in confidence. She beat one of the form players in Muguruza in the semi final. She gave her just 3 break points which was a massive improvement from previous matches.
Pennetta beat Suarez Navarro in straight sets. I expected her to win but thought it would be closer. She also didn’t give many chances away.
Pennetta has been in one final this season where she beat Radwanska easily in 2 sets. Radwanska was not 100% fir that day.
Petkovic has won both her 2014 finals although was a strong favourite each time.
It’s really hard to separate them but I would say Petkovic’s game has improved the most throughout the week. Winning tournaments is often about peaking at the right time.
Probably 3 sets but the value is on Petkovic