Week 30 of the 2015 ATP World Tour concludes in Hamburg, Gstaad and Atlanta, with titles up for grabs on Sunday.
We only managed one winner from three on what was a tricky day’s tennis betting on Saturday and that was when Dominic Thiem defeated Feliciano Lopez in the Gstaad semi final.
The overs failed by a single point in the Hamburg semi final between Fabio Fognini and Lucas Pouille, while ‘long shot’ Andreas Seppi was dreadful in a feeble loss to Rafa Nadal.
Rafael Nadal vs Fabio Fognini
Nadal was certainly much improved on Saturday against Seppi in what was a routine win and more of a problem than the Italian for Nadal was some sort of stomach issue that caused him to call for the trainer and doctor.
That was early in the second set, but it didn’t seem as much of an issue as a grimacing Nadal’s countenance suggested it might be and it made no difference whatsoever to Seppi, who continued to play as if he were in a scratch mixed doubles down at the club.
Indeed, not one of Rafa’s opponents this week have taken the opportunity to really test what is clearly still a very much below par former world number one and hopefully my outright bet Fognini will do so on Sunday.
He certainly couldn’t do any worse than his Davis Cup team mate and having won both matches with Nadal on clay already in 2015 Fogna has to be a lively underdog here.
The better weather and outdoor conditions has helped Nadal, but it didn’t aid him much in Rio or Barcelona, where Fognini beat him, and if the mercurial Italian is in the mood – and he should be – he has every chance against this Nadal.
Fognini has lost his last three finals and has a 3-6 record at main level in them, while Nadal has won two of the three he’s contested in 2015.
The ones Rafa did win were against his mate Juan Monaco and Viktor Troicki and neither of those two were likely to beat even this 2015 version of Nadal, but Fogna has proven that he can and the 5.50 on the underdog here looks the bet.
David Goffin vs Dominic Thiem
Goffin is on my ‘no bet’ list and it would take a brave punter to get involved in what looks a real pick ‘em in the Gstaad final at around 10:30 UK time on Sunday.
The Belgian has won four of their five meetings, including the one at altitude in Thiem’s backyard of Kitzbuhel on clay a year ago, and one would assume that the Austrian must be getting tired by now.
Thiem has played 24 completed sets since July 17 on clay, while Goffin in the same time frame has played half of that amount, and must have a fitness advantage.
The Austrian has in his favour a supreme confidence at the moment though after winning Umag and making the final here and this will be no easy task for Goffin, who is 2-2 in finals and has a very good main level career mark of 8-2 as a 1.60 to 1.70 favourite.
Thiem is 2-1 in main level finals and is 7-4 as a 2.0 to 2.30 underdog and for me the prices are about right, as I have Goffin as a about a 60-40 shot in this one.
The 2-1 to Goffin at 4.10 appeals here, with the Belgian likely to prove a little stronger in the end, but it’s a no-bet for me.
John Isner vs Marcos Baghdatis
My 16-1 bet on Gilles Muller in Atlanta fell in the harsh circumstances of a final set tie break late last night, as Baghdatis came through at the death against the Luxembourger.
Isner also struggled against Denis Kudla before the latter gave it away by donating his serve to the bjg man late on in the third set, so both finalists had to come from a set down in the tough conditions of a boiling Atlanta.
Baghdatis could have been forgiven for not fancying it given his 0-5 record against Isner, who was already in the final by the time Baggy and Muller played their semi, but the Cypriot toughed it out.
Isner has had more rest than Baghdatis and he doesn’t really need any more advantage in these conditions with his serve hard to even see on the TV let alone return effectively by the returner.
The Cypriot does enjoy conditions like these in Atlanta and Washington DC next week, but he’ll need to serve better than the 54 percent of first serves that he produced yesterday in the inevitable tie breaks tonight.
They’ve played three tie breaks in their last seven sets contested against each other and their most recent clash was in similar conditions in Washington DC in 2013 when Isner was a 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 winner.
The big man has a 23-3 record on outdoor hard in the USA as a 1.30 to 1.40 favourite, with two of the three losses coming at Delray Beach, while Baghdatis has won four of his last 12 as an underdog of 3.0 or higher on an outdoor hard court.
Perhaps the most important stat is the one that tells us that Baghdatis won only 13 points on Isner’s serve in three sets in that Washington clash and didn’t create a break point.
Isner’s suspect left knee had a support on it last night, but he doesn’t seem to be too affected by it, so I’d expect him to win this in conditions he loves and with all the crowd support too.
Sure thing: Back Isner to beat Baghdatis at 1.38
Long shot: Back Fognini to beat Nadal at 5.50