The final of the 2015 Western & Southern Open is set for Sunday at the Lindner Family Tennis Centre in Mason, Ohio between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
Those who did decide to take the over 9.5 games in set of Djokovic’s clash with Alexandr Dolgopolov yesterday would have enjoyed a winner, but as the Ukrainian didn’t serve first I left it – typical, really.
Braver punters would have enjoyed a nice 4.60 winner on Dolgo winning set one and any that took the over 0.5 tie breaks would have found an odds-against winner too.
Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer
We’re all set then for the 41st clash between world number one Djokovic and potentially the new world number two Federer.
The Swiss will regain second place in the world rankings by beating Djokovic when this match begins at around 18:00 UK time on Sunday.
They currently stand at 20 wins apiece in their career series and this is the one Masters 1000 crown that Djokovic has never won, having failed in four previous Cincy finals.
He’s favourite to go one better today, but only a narrow one, and the Serb can be taken on today given his struggles this last fortnight and an opponent who loves conditions here in Cincy.
Djokovic had treatment for some sort of stomach muscle issue against Dolgopolov and continues to moan about his ‘chronic’ arm injury that supposedly hampers his second serve and it’s fair to say he hasn’t looked in great shape.
The heat seems to be bothering him too and Federer comes in here the fresher of the two, with only eight sets of tennis played since losing the Wimbledon final to Djokovic.
Federer on a fast, hard court, with the right conditions has the armoury to hit through Djokovic, who should have been beaten by both David Goffin and Alexandr Dolgopolov, if either man possessed any sort of belief that they could get over the line.
Goffin certainly didn’t and Dolgopolov’s brain let him down at the wrong time yet again when well placed in the second set tie break yesterday.
It’s hard to see Federer making those sort of mistakes and he was impressive again last night versus Murray, who failed to create a single break point in all 11 of Federer’s service games.
The Swiss can protect his second serve well in these conditions and it was partly due to Murray’s own fine serving that he made it to a tie break in set two on Saturday.
On what I would call quick hard courts – in Shanghai, Dubai and here in Cincy – Federer has won the last four meetings and three of them in straight sets, with a 3.5 game handicap covered each time.
Based on all of the above Djokovic is the biggest price he’s been against Federer since the 2011 Dubai final when the Serb won as underdog, but I still can’t side with him today.
The world number one clearly does not enjoy playing in the conditions here and he’ll need to improve massively on most of the performances we’ve seen from him lately to win this.
He’s more than capable of course, but I like the 2-0 to Federer here as a 3.50 ‘long shot’ today.
Four of Fed’s five wins at Masters 1000 level on hard have come in straight sets and I’m not convinced that Novak has it in him to launch another comeback from a set down in his questionable physical state.
Long shot: Back Federer to beat Djokovic 2-0 at 3.50