Titles will be decided in Acapulco and Dubai on Saturday, while there’s also semi final action from Sao Paulo on day six of week eight of the 2016 ATP World Tour.
It was one win and one loss for our wagers on Friday, as Stanislas Wawrinka defeated Nick Kyrgios, with the Aussie retiring three games into set number two, and as one set was completed the Wawrinka bet was a winner.
Roberto Carballes Baena didn’t fare quite so well in Sao Paulo though, as he was bagelled in the opening set of his quarter final against Pablo Carreno Busta to down the ‘long shot’ double.
The second leg won, of course, with Thiago Monteiro winning the opening set against Pablo Cuevas and covering the games handicap in a three set loss to the Uruguayan.
Marcos Baghdatis vs Stanislas Wawrinka
The eye infection that caused hot favourite Novak Djokovic to quit Dubai has allowed 100-1 shot Baghdatis to make the championship match after a come from behind win over Feli Lopez on Friday.
The Cypriot takes his chance in the final at 15:00 UK time today against an opponent in Wawrinka against whom he has struggled in the past, with no wins in the six matches he’s played against the Swiss at all levels.
At main level he’s 0-5 and he’s also managed to make the final while serving at a terribly low first serve mark and surely he’ll pay for that today.
He was down at 45 percent against Lopez, who really should have beaten him in straight sets, and at 39 percent against Roberto Bautista-Agut, who lost his mind after about the 10th catch of the ball toss by Baghdatis.
I’ve rarely been convinced about the physical condition of the Cypriot and after a tough week in Dubai we might see a bit of a flat one from him, and his record in finals isn’t great either.
Baghdatis has won only four of his 12 main level finals and none since Sydney 2010, with only one set won in his last four, so the odds are stacked against him here.
Wawrinka has improved match-by-match in the tricky conditions of Dubai and I’d expect him to win this one, but it may not be as comfortable as the 1.20 price suggests.
The Swiss has a 30-6 record on outdoor hard courts as a 1.20 to 1.30 favourite, with 22 wins in his last 24 going back to 2011 after Donald Young beat him at the US Open.
It’s hardly an exciting price, but Wawrinka, who has won his last eight finals in a row and hasn’t lost one on a hard court since Chennai 2010, looks pretty solid here.
Pablo Cuevas vs Dusan Lajovic
After Federico Delbonis and Alexandr Dolgopolov both lost as favourites yesterday I’m left with 50-1 shot Lajovic as my remaining outright bet this week and he has a tough one in Sao Paulo today.
Cuevas is on a roll at the moment, but another three setter last night will have taken some more from his legs and I like the over 21.5 games in this 19:00 UK time clash in Brazil.
It will be a rarity for Cuevas to play a rightie for a change after seven straight matches against left-handers and as I mentioned yesterday he rarely does things the easy way.
And that was the case again versus Monteiro, having to come from a set down against the local hope, and he may need the full three here when he takes on Lajovic.
The Serb linked up with a new coach towards the end of what was a poor season for Lajovic last year and having worked with Sascha Nensel for about four months now he seems to be getting results.
Lajovic says he’s worked on being more aggressive on court and he’ll need to be to beat Cuevas, but conditions seem to suit him in Sao Paulo, where he’s won six of his seven main draw matches and if Cuevas is feeling fatigued there’s half a chance for the world number 76, who would be just outside the top-50 with a win this week.
Of the 12 round two and quarter final matches in Sao Paulo this week nine have gone over 21.5 games and Cuevas has gone past that mark in five of his last six (the other one was 21 games), so the over 21.5 appeals here at 1.89.
The Acapulco final should go the way of Dominic Thiem over Bernard Tomic, but at 03:00 UK time on Sunday I think I’ll give it a miss, with the Austrian a 1.50 chance, which doesn’t excite me too much.
Sure thing: Back Wawrinka to beat Baghdatis at 1.20
Value bet: Back over 21.5 games in Cuevas/Lajovic at 1.89