The championship match of the 2016 Brasil Open is the last remaining ATP World Tour action of the week on Sunday and the final tour match until Indian Wells.
Pablo Cuevas features in it after overcoming my 50-1 outright shot Dusan Lajovic in straight sets on Saturday in a result that also downed my overs wager in somewhat unfortunate circumstances.
Lajovic led 3-1 in set two and created eight break point chances to the three of Cuevas – the difference being that the Uruguayan took all three of his and saved seven of the eight against him.
There was a winner for the ‘sure thing’ though, as Stan Wawrinka defeated Marcos Baghdatis in straight sets in the expected fairly tight encounter in which the Cypriot’s suspect first serve let him down once again.
Pablo Cuevas vs Pablo Carreno Busta
This fourth career clash between the Uruguayan and the Spaniard will take place at around 17:00 UK time on Sunday, weather permitting, and it will be a first tour level final for Carreno Busta.
PCB hoovered up 22 lower level Futures and Challenger titles between 2010 and 2015, but a comfortable 6-1, 6-1 win over Inigo Cervantes in the semi final in Sao Paulo on Saturday sees him make a maiden ATP World Tour championship match.
Carreno Busta had few problems with the challenge of a nervy Cervantes yesterday, but he may find nerves a problem himself today in the biggest match of his career so far.
He’s certainly got little to lose though after coming back from 0-6, 0-3 down in round one to Albert Ramos and if he plays freely he can make the match a contest against the 1.47 favourite.
PCB has been serving well this week, with 86 and 90 percent of first serve points won in his last two matches, but this is a much sterner test against the in-form Cuevas, who will be up to number 25 in the world with a win today.
I quite like the 1.48 about no tie breaks in this one as a ‘sure thing’, with only seven tie breaks in 61 sets of tennis this week in Sao Paulo, and none played in the three career clashes between the pair.
I would expect Cuevas’ extra class and experience to tell here, providing he’s got enough in his legs after a lot of tennis this past fortnight, and PCB’s record against top-30 opposition would put me off backing him.
In 27 matches against top-30 ranked opponents he’s won only three and as a 2.70 to 3.0 underdog his record is 2-7 and I think the way to go here might be to take the 2.30 about a 2-0 win for Cuevas.
The Uruguayan is playing with a lot of confidence at the moment and I expect that bit of extra quality and experience to tell here in what will be a sixth tour level final of his career so far.
Cuevas has won four of the five so far, with the one loss coming against Roger Federer, and I’d fancy him to take another title here.
Value bet: Back Cuevas to beat Carreno Busta 2-0 at 2.30