Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are all set to clash in the round robin stages of the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London on Tuesday.
Surely the most eagerly anticipated match of the tournament so far for the general tennis-watching public will take place at around 20:00 UK time in what will be their 43rd career meeting.
And hopefully it will be better entertainment than last night’s Stan Wawrinka vs Rafael Nadal clash, which was another disappointing affair and one that Stan described as: “Just a really bad day at the office.”
Consequently it was a ‘bad day at the office’ for me too, as my set one overs wager failed, thanks mainly to Wawrinka’s slew of unforced errors (35 in total in the match).
Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic
Can anyone beat Novak Djokovic on an indoor court as slow and hard to hit winners on as this one at the O2 and most of them around the world these days?
The answer, for the moment at least, would appear to be ‘no’, with Djokovic racking up 35 wins in these conditions since his last defeat over three years ago and not even Federer looks likely to change things just now.
It’s perhaps too simplistic to suggest that when Federer and Djokovic clash on a quick outdoor hard court the Swiss tends to win and on slow hard courts Djokovic wins, but that’s how their match-up shapes up these days.
Certainly over the best of three sets it does anyway and surely it’s much too slow here in London for Federer to be able to breach the Djokovic defences with anything like the regularity required.
The pair have met six times this season, with Federer winning the two played on fast outdoor hard in best of three play and Djokovic victorious in all of the rest.
Federer hasn’t beaten Djokovic on indoor hard since here at the O2 way back in 2010 and the Serb has won all three since that November day in Docklands.
The Swiss ended up playing well after an uncharacteristically slow start against Tomas Berdych on Sunday night, but he won’t find this match-up anything like as cosy and Novak will hunt down the subtle drop shots, where Berdych was all at sea.
It was business as usual for Djokovic in his opening match against Kei Nishikori, but admittedly the Japanese star didn’t help himself by serving poorly, which he can’t afford to do with his weakish delivery.
But the confidence is coursing through the world number one’s veins right now after dropping only one of the 33 sets he’s contested since the US Open, and so it should be in these conditions.
No one comes close to Djokovic on indoor hard these days and Federer would need to be in peak form, playing flawless tennis to make this a really close-run thing and that seems unlikely at this stage of the season in these conditions.
Again, I would expect aces to be few and under 12.5 aces seems a good pick, but I’m going for the slightly bigger price on Djokovic -3.5 games at 1.87 here.
Of the Serb’s last 17 matches on indoor hard he’s won 16 of them by more than 3.5 games and I don’t see much changing today.
Value bet: Back Djokovic -3.5 games to beat Federer at 1.87