It’s semi-final Saturday in week 43’s two ATP 500 tournaments in Spain and Switzerland, with Roger Federer, Andy Murray and David Ferrer among the stars in action today.
Federer takes on Ivo Karlovic at the Swiss Indoors in Basel, but Rafa Nadal is missing after losing to 17-year-old prospect Borna Coric on Friday before announcing that his season is now over.
The Spaniard will undergo surgery on the appendix issue and also deal with a troublesome back problem shortly, so as to have time to recover and get fit for the 2015 Australian Open.
Friday was one of those days where wins were within touching distance, but denied when Pablo Andujar failed to win either of his close sets with Tommy Robredo, while Grigor Dimitrov failed with four set point chances against Federer in Basel before fading badly.
We start at 14:00 UK time on Saturday in Valencia, with another clash between Murray and Ferrer.
Andy Murray vs David Ferrer
These two must be getting sick of the sight of each other, being rivals in the race to London and now facing off for the third time in as many weeks.
After Ferrer won from a set down in Shanghai and Murray did the same in Vienna last week they meet on the slower indoor hard courts of Valencia and surely it is advantage Ferrer this time.
After bizarrely pricing Murray up at around the 1.30 mark in the last two matches the layers have cottoned on to the fact that there really isn’t much between these two at the moment and doubled Murray’s price.
The Brit is a 1.61 chance today and some of that is due to the ease in which Ferrer has prevailed in his matches this week, while Murray had a tough, fairly gruelling two-and-three-quarter hour marathon with Kevin Anderson yesterday.
Both players have put in the hard yards late on in the season in their attempts to qualify for London and boost their rankings ahead of Melbourne next year and it seems to be Murray that’s struggling a little right now.
The slow conditions here have also been a factor in pricing the Scot up much bigger than last week in Vienna, where it’s quicker, and this could be a real war of attrition today.
It’s now four times straight that the winner of set one has gone on to lose this fixture, but with Nadal now out of London this one may be over quicker and the 3.50 on Ferrer to win 2-0 is actually quite tempting.
Playing at home his motivation will be higher and he’s been breezing through in Valencia, so he will surely be the fresher and he looks in better form.
Either the 2.28 on Ferrer or the 3.50 on Ferrer 2-0 look the wagers of interest here.
The other semi-final pits Robredo up against Jeremy Chardy in a first meeting for five years between these two and I would expect the Spaniard to come through that one.
Over in Basel Federer faces Karlovic for the 12th time and poor old Ivo still has just the one win over the Swiss maestro, which was in Cincy back in 2008.
Federer usually handles the big servers pretty well and I can’t see the Croat winning this one, but he could quite conceivably take a set at 2.75 if he serves at his best and gets a bit of luck in a tie break.
Finally, Coric tries to back up his win over Nadal when he faces David Goffin at 13:30 UK time and that will be a tall order for the Croatian teen.
Nadal was shockingly bad last night and in truth Coric wasn’t great and again served at under 50 percent of first serves in play and he’ll need a lot more today against the Belgian, who took down Milos Raonic in three sets on Friday.
Goffin’s experience and current confidence should ensure a win covering a 3.5 game handicap here at around 1.67.
Back Ferrer to beat Murray at 2.28