The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals has reached its semi-final stage, with ranking points and a place in the final up for grabs on Saturday at the O2 Arena in London.
Stanislas Wawrinka will contest an all-Swiss affair with Roger Federer at 20:00 UK time tonight after just about landing my best bet of the day on Friday.
Stan looked to be easing to a fairly comfortable win over Marin Cilic, but a typical lapse in concentration from Wawrinka heralded a final set decider – just the second such match of the week.
It looked like curtains for the minus 3.5 game handicap bet when Wawrinka went a break down in set three, but he recovered in the end to sneak the bet home.
Roger Federer vs Stanislas Wawrinka
This 17th career clash between Switzerland’s two Davis Cup stars is likely to end up being another win for Federer, who has a 14-2 career lead over his compatriot.
Federer has never lost to Wawrinka on a hard court, with both defeats coming on the clay of Monte-Carlo, and I’ve seen little from Stan this week to suggest that he’s in the sort of form needed to cause an upset today.
Stan’s win over a really poor Tomas Berdych in his first match was the high point of the week for Wawrinka and yesterday he made life difficult for himself by serving poorly and failing to break 50 percent on first serve.
Federer too struggled with his service percentage against Andy Murray in his last match, but you would never realise by glancing at the 6-0, 6-1 scoreline over the struggling Scot.
The layers don’t fancy Stan’s chances much tonight, with a 1.15 quote about Federer to win the match and of more interest could be the side markets, with the tie break played market looking one such wager.
Each of their last six meetings has involved a tie break, which makes the 2.60 about there being one today a decent pick purely on the stats.
Wawrinka has tended to start their matches very competitively and then fade later on and there are several wagers in this one that do appeal in the eventuality of that happening again.
The over 10.5 games in set one does look the best big-priced choice in this one at around the 3.50 mark, knowing that their opening sets have been tight in recent years and the over 9.5 games has landed in four of their last six clashes too.
The 1.83 about over 9.5 games looks a safer call, but the way this tournament has gone I think it’s worth going for a bigger priced bet here to go against the market that has Federer down as an easy winner.
We know that Stan likes these big matches against top opponents, as his 8-2 record against top-10 opposition in 2014 shows, and he is under no pressure here being not expected to win this.
I can’t see Stan winning the match, but he can make it close early, and I like the chances of this one going to 7-5 or 7-6 in set one at a nice price.
Back over 10.5 games in set one at 3.50