Sunday in week one of the 2016 ATP Tour will see two ATP 250 titles decided in Chennai and Brisbane, with Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka looking to make it a Swiss double.
Federer was a comfortable winner over Dominic Thiem in Brisbane and landed the first part of our short-priced double on Saturday before Novak Djokovic completed it with an easy win over Rafa Nadal.
And Fed will take on Milos Raonic for a second straight year in the Brisbane final after the Canadian ensured that our second bet of the day was also successful with a 7-6, 7-6 win over Bernard Tomic.
Raonic sneaked past the -1.5 games handicap mark in that one after almost blowing a 5-1 lead in the second set tie break.
Roger Federer vs Milos Raonic
We start in Brisbane then when at 09:00 UK time on Sunday Federer and Raonic clash for the 11th time in their careers, with Federer having won nine of the previous 10 meetings with the big-serving Canadian.
There’s a little bit extra on this one as well, with Federer now working with Raonic’s former coach Ivan Ljubicic, who no doubt, will have a great deal of input on today’s match – not that Federer has needed much assistance figuring out Raonic in the past.
The Canadian’s only win over Federer came indoors at the end of the 2014 season in Paris and the prices of this year’s Brisbane final are pretty much the same as a year ago, with the Swiss maestro a 1.27 chance.
But that doesn’t interest me much, with the 2.16 about over 10.5 games in set one looking much better value, with their last six sets against each other all going to at least 10 games.
Two of their last four opening sets against each other have gone to at least 12 games and in these quick conditions I’d expect Raonic to be able to hold serve five times or more in set one.
Federer has rarely been at the top of the rankings in the statistical category of break points converted and against last season he was down in 16th place, behind Jiri Vesely and Marcos Baghdatis.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Raonic nick a set here, with the 2-1 to Federer at 3.65 a reasonable choice, but I like the odds-against about the set one overs here.
Stanislas Wawrinka vs Borna Coric
My outright on Aljaz Bedene failed in the tightest of circumstances on Saturday in a three-hour marathon Chennai clash with Coric, which surely leaves the Chennai title in the hands of Wawrinka.
Wawrinka has cruised through the field to take his place in a third straight Chennai final at a tournament he now has a 22-4 record in, while Coric has had to crap every inch of the way almost in very hot and humid conditions.
Two brutal three setters that went very long back-to-back is likely to have removed most of the 19-year-old’s energy reserves and it seems fanciful to think he can upset the Swiss star in these circumstances.
A very tough clash with Roberto Bautista-Agut followed by a war with Bedene may well have taken its toll on Coric, which is shame because his serve looks better than last season and he’s also coming forward more, which is good to see.
Fully fit Coric may have stood half a chance here, but as it stands the 2-0 to Wawrinka looks the most likely outcome in this 11:30 UK time start.
Value bet: Back over 10.5 games in set one of Federer/Raonic at 2.16