World number one Novak Djokovic is in action at the O2 in London at the ATP World Tour Finals when he faces US Open champion Marin Cilic.
And it was a perfect start to the week for my bets on Monday when Roger Federer provided a very comfortable winner for those who took the minus 1.5 games in set one on the Swiss at 2.18.
Federer broke Milos Raonic twice the set to ease to a 6-1 success and those on the minus 2.5 game handicap were also successful when Fed took the match with a 7-0 tie break in set two.
Novak Djokovic vs Marin Cilic
The world number one takes on Cilic at around 8pm UK time on Monday in what could well be a tighter match than the price of 1.14 on the Serb suggests.
Only once in the five previous times that this event has been played at the O2 has Djokovic enjoyed a comfortable win in his opening round robin match and that was against Tomas Berdych back in 2010.
Three of the four other times he’s been taken to three sets and the other went over today’s total games mark of 21.5 at 1.94, so that in itself looks decent value here.
It’s rarely easy starting off at this tournament due to the quality of opposition that you’re up against right from the start and I have to side with the US Open champion in some way today.
Cilic will certainly be fresh after skipping Valencia and Paris with an arm injury and he says that’s fine now, so he should be the fittest of any of the eight men here this week, having not played since winning Moscow.
Having landed that US Open crown and backed it up by winning an admittedly minor event in Moscow Cilic should come here with great confidence that he deserves his place and he has been pushing Djokovic close lately in any case.
The Croat has lost all 10 against the Serb, but the layers have paid too much attention to that here, with Cilic having taken sets in the last three against Djokovic and taken him to five at Wimbledon this summer.
If Cilic serves well he can make this a tough night for Djokovic with several wagers supporting the Croat appealing here.
The over 21.5 games looks good as I mentioned earlier, but I fancy Cilic to take a set here and the 2.55 about the +1.5 sets on the debutant looks the pick.
The +4.5 games also appeals if you fancy a tightish two-set win for Djokovic and that’s a 2.00 shot.
Djokovic is coming into this tournament knowing that three wins will secure his place as year-end number one and this match could well be his toughest test on the way to achieving that goal.
This slow, pudding of a court at the O2 will probably work out just perfectly for Djokovic and the 2-1 win to him looks a decent choice too at 3.90, but I’ll take our US Open champion to grab a set here in what should be a good match.
Back Cilic +1.5 sets to beat Djokovic at 2.55