The championship matches of the Portugal Open and BMW Open are set for Sunday, as week 18 of the ATP World Tour draws to a close.
It was a frustrating semi-final Saturday yesterday, as a nice odds-against winner in Carlos Berlocq to win 2-0 over Daniel Gimeno-Traver was tempered by an unlucky loss in the Tommy Haas match and a surprisingly professional display by Fabio Fognini.
Berlocq was just too determined for DGT in Oeiras, which was a pleasing result, but despite saying yesterday that Haas was to be avoided at a short price against Martin Klizan, I went for the overs, as I expected a stumble from Klizan that didn’t come against a plainly under par Haas.
And it’s not often that I can write about a committed display from Fognini in conditions he doesn’t really enjoy, but that’s what we got in a chilly Munich and he has made slight amends for some pathetic showings in recent tournaments.
Sunday’s finals begin at 12.00 UK time in Munich, with Fognini and Klizan going head-to-head for the BMW Open title.
Not a match to pawn the family silver to bet on by any means, with both of these players capable of pretty much anything – sublime or dreadful.
This pair met in the final of the now defunct St Petersburg event on indoor hard in 2012 when Klizan was at his peak and the Slovak won comfortably, but much has changed since then, with Fognini winning their three clashes since.
Fogna, as I said earlier, has been surprisingly professional in Munich this week, but this may turn into a tough assignment if he’s not very careful.
Jan-Lennard Struff wasn’t up to the job on Saturday, but that was a bet based on Fognini’s aversion to hard work in unfavourable conditions and one would like to think that having applied himself well yesterday he’d do so again with a title at stake with a bit more sun on his back.
Klizan has slipped out of the top-100, but will rise at least 41 places after his week here back to number 70 and if he wins he’ll find himself at number 62.
The weather is set to be better today, with much more sun, which will no doubt please Fognini, but I can see Klizan nicking a set here if he's not too tired and the 2-1 to Fabio looks the call at 3.70
Both of Fabio’s triumphs in Germany last year were three set affairs and Klizan’s likely fatigue here after seven matches already this week is a concern for his backers today, but it’s not a match I want to bet on.
I said yesterday that Berdych should have few problems against Victor Hanescu and so it proved, as the Czech eased into the final facing little resistance from the Romanian.
It was certainly a better display from Tomas, but then it had to be really after a poor showing against Leo Mayer the previous day in a match he should probably have lost and another Argentine can cause him problems today.
Berlocq has shown such passion this week that he would be a worthy winner of this tournament and with Berdych surely using this week as clay court practice after being dumped out of Monte-Carlo early it would be great to see a win for the honest toil of Berlocq.
The pair have met on three prior occasions, with Charly being a nuisance to the Berdman in two of them – on clay in Dusseldorf at a similar level in 2012 and on slow hard in Miami a year earlier.
Berdych won pretty comfortably on clay in Davis Cup in 2012, but I don’t see him having the same level of motivation here that Berlocq clearly does, with the underdog chasing his second tour level title.
Berlocq’s first came in Bastad on the clay in a 250 last year and in all this will be his third final, with his only other tour level final coming in Santiago in 2012 when he lost to Juan Monaco.
Berdych doesn’t win anywhere near enough titles for a top-five player and has just the nine in 10 years. This will be his 23rd final and his seventh on clay.
Indeed, Berdych hasn’t won a title on clay since Munich back in 2009 and he has a 2-4 record in tour level red dirt finals.
Berlocq will be a pest to Berdych today and will not go away easily. The bets to consider are the set one overs at 1.94
about 9.5 games or more or the over 21.5 total games at 1.98
Only two of Berdych’s nine career final wins have come in fewer than 21.5 games – the first one back in 2004 in Palermo and the last this year in Rotterdam against an exhausted Marin Cilic.
Berlocq should have the energy and desire to push him past the overs mark again today.
Back over 21.5 games in Berdych/Berlocq at 1.98