ATP Paris Masters, 13:00 – Berdych v Anderson
Berdych has an 11-0 record over Anderson. The South African hasn’t shown any real form this season but last season he often took a break lead in the opening set but choked away the chance. The only exception was at Wimbledon when Anderson took the opening set before losing in 4.
Anderson played well against Wawrinka in his last match but he benefited from a choke by the Australian Open champion who served for the match in the third set but was broken from 30-0.
Berdych has made hard work of his matches this week and needed three sets to beat Mannarino. In his match yesterday he was an early break up on Lopez but allowed the Spaniard back into the set. A late Berdych break won the set and he was more comfortable after that.
I think Berdych peaked too soon this season and he faded in the summer. His form has lifted again in recent weeks and I expect him to win today but not without a scare or two along the way.
Berdych starts at 1.29 which is likely to trade a fair bit higher. If Anderson starts well on his own serve and is able to put pressure on the Berdych serve then i will lay Berdych and switch to the Czech player if Anderson goes a break ahead.
ATP Paris Masters, 18:30 – Djokovic v Murray
Murray had a really tough task to qualify for the World Tour Finals but he has given everything to achieve it. Two consecutive titles and his win over Dimitrov yesterday sealed his place. Last season the year end finals came the week after Paris but this time there is a week between them for the top players to rest. Now that Murray has achieved his goal will his motivation be a little decreased today? He has played a lot of tennis and he is only human. Of course he would love to end the season with three titles in a row but does he have enough in his energy reserves for a match against the world number one?
Djokovic’s place at the O2 Arena has obviously never been in doubt but he does have something to play for this week. Roger Federer is ending the season strongly and his title in Basel last week brought him to within 500 points of Djokovic. The Serb won’t give up his number one ranking without a fight.
Djokovic is the defending champion in Paris so nothing short of a defense of the title is good enough. Last season Federer reached the semi finals, losing to Djokovic, and is still in contention this week. Federer plays Raonic in his quarter final which he is expected to win with a 6-0 record over the big Canadian.
Murray is unquestionably playing his best tennis of the season. He didn’t play in Paris last year and I just don’t see him being able to avoid a huge sigh of relief that he has done what he needs to do and his body must be screaming out for rest.
I can see Murray coming into this match feeling he has little to lose and if Djokovic is nervous then Murray may take an early lead. Djokovic to win in 2 sets or perhaps 3 if Murray can take a tight opening set.
I will wait for a better price on Djokovic than his 1.38 SP.