Rain put paid to the day’s play in Shenzhen on Saturday, so it’ll be double duty for some in China on Sunday, while the final of the Malaysian Open indoors will definitely be played.
It was a really disappointing day for me in Kuala Lumpur, with Nick Kyrgios failing in two tie breaks to make the final against Feli Lopez and that was the first time since 2012 that Lopez featured in a match that ended 7-6, 7-6.
He lost on that occasion (also here in Kuala Lumpur) to Igor Sijsling and the previous time he won a match indoors 7-6, 7-6 was against Dmitry Tursunov in Marseille back in 2009.
So, the stats were on my side in under 25.5 games, but the longstanding trend was bucked, and it’s Lopez who goes through to an all-Spanish final against David Ferrer.
David Ferrer vs Feliciano Lopez
Just the one match to concern us on Sunday then, with Shenzhen being a washout, and it takes place at around 11:30 UK time at the Malaysian Open.
Ferrer just about landed the first half of my ‘sure thing’ double on Saturday in defeating Benjamin Becker, but he had to come from a set down to do it and he wasn’t terribly convincing against the German veteran.
Lopez served very well in beating Kyrgios and this is now his best run on indoor hard for over two-and-a-half years and it’s only his second final in these conditions since 2004 when he won Vienna.
Standing in the way of a first indoor title for Lopez in 11 years is Ferrer, who has won his last five against Lopez, but they haven’t clashed on indoor hard since the Madrid event was played in those conditions back in 2008.
Lopez won that day and he’s won all three of their meetings on indoor hard, but they were from a long time ago, and Ferrer has had Lopez’s number over the last four years or so.
That said, Ferrer has never played his best tennis here in Kuala Lumpur, and Becker showed yesterday that a decent serve and aggressive approach can cause problems for Ferrer in these conditions – slow as they are.
Ferrer’s record against the big servers in my database (of which Lopez is one) is 13-6, with his only loss in his last dozen matches coming against Tomas Berdych at the 2013 World Tour Finals.
I’m not overly tempted by the 1.5 on Ferrer, but he does have a good record as a 1.50 to 1.60 favourite, having won his last 14 in that price range going back to a loss to Mikhail Youzhny here in Kuala Lumpur in the first round in 2009.
He also has a far superior record in finals to that of Lopez, with Ferrer holding a 24-25 mark at main level and he’s won his last three, while Lopez has a poor 4-8 mark, and he’s only ever won one final in straight sets.
Lopez as a 2.50 to 2.80 underdog has a 10-19 career mark, with two wins in his last seven, and the last time he faced Ferrer, which was on slow outdoor hard in Acapulco last season, he was a 4.46 shot, so I’m not wild about Feli’s price either.
I think that the 3.85 about a 2-1 Ferrer win is the best option in this tricky match to call, with Lopez likely to take a set, but Ferrer’s battling qualities and mental strength will probably give him the edge when it comes to the crunch.
Long shot: Back Ferrer to beat Lopez 2-1 at 3.85