The WTA Tournament of Champions starts today. Local girl Pironkova is there despite not having won a title this year. Excellent.
Paris got under way yesterday. The courts are slower than in previous years which when you add that to the fact that this is the last tournament of the year for most and also that we have no week’s break in between this and the World Tour Finals we are going to see some unexpected results. Expect the unexpected and we may have a chance! It was also a little odd that in the ten matches yesterday we only saw one 3 setter. Maybe players aren’t up for a fight if they lose the first and have little to play for.
Cilic is one player who doesn’t have much to pay for this week. He is up against the serving machine that is Janowicz. Janowicz came through the qualifying rounds without offering up a single break point. In the first round yesterday Kohlschreiber couldn’t break him and Cilic is unlikely to find it easy to break today.
Cilic has reached the quarter finals in the last 2 tournaments and will probably be fairly satisfied with his season and especially with his more recent form. He starts at 1.4 today and as tie breaks are likely I feel its worth a lay from the start and I will look to reduce my liability on Cilic if and when his price spikes upwards during the first set. This match could go either way but I am going with Janowicz having a little more motivation.
Hantuchova’s form improved in Luxembourg where she reached the semi finals. She plays Vinci in the first round robin match and will fancy her chances as the head to heads are 2-2 with Hantuchova winning their only 2012 match in straight sets.
Vinci has reached her highest ranking this year and has finished the season playing her usual brand of solid tennis. If Hantuchova isn’t close to her best today then Vinci’s consistency will grind her down.
I think we will see a higher price on the Italian during the opening set and unless Hantuchova is playing out of her skin I will be backing Vinci at that higher price. I will also be watching out to see if Vinci is having one of her off days on serve. They are becoming less frequent but could open a door for Hantuchova.
Paire was handed a wild card for Paris and so didn’t have to play the qualifying rounds. In the first round he beat Andujar in straight sets.
Nishikori is another player who has had his best season so far. He became the first Japanese player to win the Japanese Open earlier this month and reached his career high 15th in the ATP rankings. He lost in the first round last year so has a great chance to add to his points total and I feel he will be going all out for the win today. The enthusiasm of youth doesn’t seem to have been beaten out of him just yet!
Paire can be a very lazy player at the best of times and as he lost in the qualifying rounds last year I aren’t convinced that he will be busting a gut if he goes behind.
Nishikori is a little short at 1.40 and I will watch the opening games to check that he is going for it. You never know Paire might get a break point or even a break in Nishikori’s first service game.