The finals of week 39’s two ATP 250 events at the start of the Asian swing are set for Sunday in China and Malaysia.
Andy Murray is in action at the Shenzhen Open, while Kei Nishikori plays for the Malaysian Open title in Kuala Lumpur.
Murray takes on Tommy Robredo, who put paid to my one wager on Saturday, as the Spaniard was much faster out of the blocks than Santi Giraldo, whose slow start cost him any chance.
The Colombian did move into an early lead in set two, but he couldn’t make it stick and Robredo was reasonably comfortable in the end in what was a disappointing effort from Giraldo.
Play starts at 08:00 UK time in Shenzhen and at 09:30 in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
Andy Murray vs Tommy Robredo
The weather seemed to be a major problem for Murray on Saturday in Shenzhen in what was a dreadful start from the Brit against Juan Monaco and it could be an issue for him again on Sunday.
Murray began poorly and looked to be struggling in the heat and humidity before recovering to win the decider 6-0 against the Argentine, but conditions are set to be very tough once more on Sunday.
The forecast predicts 37C temperatures and 67 percent humidity, which will probably be more of a factor than forehands and backhands in this one.
Robredo has been serving very well and didn’t seem at all affected by his two-and-a-half hour battle with Andreas Seppi, which was a bit of a surprise, and he should be able to make this final interesting if he continues to serve well.
Tommy to win the first set at 2.85 and to win the match +1.5 sets at 1.82 are the wagers in a match that will likely be decided by physical conditioning.
Kei Nishikori vs Julien Benneteau
What a great story it would be if, after failing in nine previous ATP World Tour finals, Benny won one by beating a top-10 player and the US Open finalist.
I said yesterday that I was more hopeful than confident when it came to Benny’s chances against Ernests Gulbis, but it was a poor display from the Latvian that allowed the Frenchman a fairly comfortable passage through to his 10th tour level final.
Gulbis was poor in all areas and his racquet felt the full force of Ernie’s displeasure, but Benneteau won’t care about that and he has half a chance with the pressure off as underdog here.
Nishikori was made to work hard and extended to three sets by Jarkko Nieminen in his semi final on Saturday and I see no reason why an up for it Benneteau can’t at least make the Japanese top seed go long again.
Conditions in Kuala Lumpur suit the Benneteau game, as he’s proven again by making a third straight final here and it would be cruel for him to lose once more given his overall record in championship matches.
He had a match point here last year for the title, but that was against Joao Sousa, and Benny will need to play at his absolute best to land the spoils here and it might be beyond him.
Now that Nishikori has made the final he’s unlikely to give less than his best and the 2-1 win for Kei at 3.75 looks a decent choice here.
Nishikori has had the better of their career meetings and won their last one in similar conditions comfortably in Bercy at the end of last season.
It’s hard to see Benny winning in a decider with a title at stake, but I’m not sure I envisage Nishikori running away with this either, so the 2-1 will be my bet in this.
Back Robredo +1.5 sets to beat Murray at 1.82
Back Nishikori to beat Benneteau 2-1 at 3.75