Friday is the final day of round robin play at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and the last match in Group A sees Marin Cilic take on Stanislas Wawrinka.
Novak Djokovic secured the year-end number one ranking spot on Friday afternoon with another demolition job at this year’s championship – this time a 6-2, 6-2 win over Tomas Berdych.
Thursday’s bet ended up being one of the easiest odds-against winners of this or any other year when Roger Federer crushed Andy Murray 6-0, 6-1 in less than an hour to continue the run of one-sided matches at the O2 this year.
Murray was dreadful and our minus 3.5 game handicap on Federer was never in doubt from early on and Murray only just escaped the dreaded double bagel from 0-30 down at 0-6, 0-5.
We start from 20:00 UK time tonight with Wawrinka needing to do very little now to qualify for the semi-finals.
Stanislas Wawrinka vs Marin Cilic
After Djokovic’s straight sets win over Berdych the equation looks to be a very simple one for Wawrinka – win three games or more and he’s through to the last four.
It’s a tall order then for Cilic, who must not only beat Wawrinka in straight sets, but he can only lose two games in total in the process.
That’s not entirely out of the question of course, but it’s a huge longshot and especially the way that Cilic has played so far in this tournament.
Our US Open champion has been a big disappointment in London and he must surely be regretting his decision to sit out the previous month of the tour with an arm injury, so rusty has he appeared in both round robin matches.
Conditions here don’t really seem to suit him either, with the spoils tending to go to players who are great movers and defenders as well as excellent ball strikers and Cilic doesn’t really fit all of those categories at the moment.
The low bounce and acres of space for opponents to defend hasn’t helped either and the Croat has also complained of feeling fatigued, which is a little odd given his absence of a month from the tour prior to this week.
Cilic certainly hasn’t found his rhythm at the O2 and with an almost impossible task on his hands tonight he seems destined for a 0-3 record in his first visit to the World Tour Finals.
As for Wawrinka, he should be relaxed in the knowledge that he’s virtually assured of a spot in the semi-finals and he’d certainly have taken that coming into this week after a poor time of it and with the Davis Cup Final on the horizon.
Even taking all of the qualification scenarios out of this equation it’s not a good match-up for Cilic, who has lost seven of the nine matches he’s played against Wawrinka.
I recall their last meeting in Cincy very well and it was one where Wawrinka started slowly, but found his form and dominated the Croat, who had an injury problem that day.
The injury may have contributed to the 3-6, 6-0, 6-1 scoreline, but Stan also won 6-0, 6-2 when the pair met on clay in Monte Carlo earlier in the year.
I’m tempted to go for the Wawrinka minus 5.5 games here at 2.90 or the under 18.5 total games at 3.00 with the way this event has gone and the lack of much to play for from a Cilic perspective.
In case Cilic does play a little better in his third match and fancies grabbing back some pride here the minus 3.5 games on Wawrinka is a more circumspect play and that will be my choice this evening.
Back Wawrinka -3.5 games to beat Cilic at 1.75