Just two singles matches today. Let’s hope the slightly condensed season doesn’t give us any retirements this week. I hope the ATP learn from this season and even if they have to reduce the length of the season they find another way to do it. They have devalued the Paris Masters in 2012.
Most of the eight players haven’t had ideal preparation for London.
Federer knew he needed to rest and with no rest week built into the schedule as there was in previous years he made what must have been a tough decision to miss Paris where he was defending champion. This effectively threw away 1000 ranking points and handed the number 1 ranking position to Djokovic.
Djokovic suffered from a stomach illness. He didn’t put everything into his match with Querrey which could be put down to any or all of the illness, his father being in hospital and the need for rest for this week.
Murray was too relaxed when he started his match with Janowicz. Murray rates his ability highly to serve out matches but his lack of intensity and some big shots from Janowicz lost him the game, the tie break and then the match. I suspect Murray didn’t intend to fight to the latter stages in Paris but he didn’t plan to go out so early.
Ferrer has taken full advantage of the schedule to grab his first Masters event. He can enjoy the week in London. He actually reached the semi finals last year beating Murray and Djokovic before losing to Federer.
Tsonga was plaved in a difficult position last week. He had reached the final in Paris last year and will have wanted to perform well in front of his home crowd. At the same time he will be desperate to do well in London. In the end Ferrer made the decision for him by beating him in the semi final.
Del Potro has probably had the best prep for London. He beat Federer in his own back yard. I aren’t reading too much into his loss against Llodra. Llodra has been an ideal tank opponent over the last week.
Berdych is one i can’t make my mind up about. His concentration didn’t seem quite right last week where he defended semi finals points. He was outplayed by Anderson in their opening set although it has to be said that Anderson played the set of his life! Against Simon he again lost out in the first set but he came back and looked in control of the second before giving away a break of serve that didn’t look on the cards. Losing to Simon isn’t the best way to get your head right for this week.
And that leaves dizzy Tipsy. Dizziness is hard to prove or disprove. My own personal opinion is that he showed in the opening set against Janowicz that he could beat him and then lost the match to be able to rest for this week.
Onto today’s matches..
First up is Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych. Berdych leads the head to heads 4-3. They are 2-2 on hard courts which included their only indoor hard court match which was in Paris last year and was won by Berdych in 3 sets. They have played 3 times in 2012. Murray won both the hard court matches and Berdych won on the clay in Monte Carlo.
Murray starts at 1.38 which is no value at all. Berdych has a great record on indoor hard courts. The surface at the O2 is unlikely to be particularly fast
Berdych will need his serve to improve from last week and if it does then he has a decent chance. Murray lost to Ferrer in his first match last year before he withdrew to be replaced by Tipsarevic.
There are too many unknown factors here but I still think 1.38 is too low and I will be laying Murray and assessing the players in play. My gut feeling is that Berdych will edge it so hopefully I get to let the lay run a little.
Update: Murray won 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Our evening match is Djokovic against Tsonga.
Djokovic leads the head to heads 8-6. In the last 2 years they have met 6 times and Djokovic has won them all. they were also scheduled to play in the Paris Masters last year but Djokovic withdrew before the match.
Tsonga’s wins all came on hard courts with all bar one of those being on indoor hard courts so this is perhaps his best chance of his first victory in 2 years.
There are conflicting reports about the health of Djokovic’s father who has been seriously ill. His starting price of 1.22 is too low as again we have unknown factors. if Djokovic is focused and committed to the match then he will win. Nothing is certain at this stage of the tournament.
1.22 certainly isn’t a backing price so I will try a lay and see how they start.
Update: Djokovic won 7-6, 6-3.