Gilles Simon and Roger Federer contest the final of the penultimate Masters 1000 tournament of the year at the Shanghai Rolex Masters in China on Sunday.
At around 09:30 UK time Simon and Federer go head-to-head for the seventh time in their careers, with the Swiss maestro leading 4-2 in their meetings thus far.
And it was Federer who landed a nice odds-against winner for this column on Saturday when he took the opening set of his semi final against Novak Djokovic to record a 2.70 success.
Gilles Simon vs Roger Federer
It was an excellent performance from Fed to take down Nole in straight sets and make the race for year-end number one a little closer than it would have been had he not won that match.
In the live rankings Federer will move within 2,500 points of Djokovic if he beats Simon on Sunday, and with the Serbian not due to play too much between now and end of the season due to the impending birth of his first child it could be a close run thing.
Not that Federer will need any more incentive to win his first Shanghai Rolex Masters title in a match that he is a pretty heavy favourite for.
I don’t think it will be as easy as odds of 1.25 suggest though, with Simon playing some fabulous tennis here at the Qi Zhong Tennis Centre this week.
Simon was able to nullify the Feliciano Lopez serve and target the Spaniard’s weaker backhand wing effectively in their semi final on Saturday and he’s returning as well as he ever did.
Federer is going to have to serve as well as he did against Djokovic – the Swiss made 71 percent of his first serves and won 69 percent of those points – if he wants to get past Simon as comfortably as a 1.25 shot would be expected to.
Gillou is a confidence player and he’s certainly feeling at the top of his form right now, plus Federer isn’t as solid as used to be in sealing tournament wins these days.
One’s mind harks back to the last title he won in Cincy when he was comfortably beating David Ferrer in the final before inexplicably dropping set two almost to a bagel.
Prior to that he won Halle only on two tie breaks against Alejandro Falla on grass and the only other title he won this year was in a match he was losing easily to Tomas Berdych in Dubai.
So, I’m happy to side with Simon to take a set here at 1.98, with the Federer 2-1 win another bet I would consider at around the 3.75 mark.
Back Simon +1.5 sets to beat Federer at 1.98