The big names who are chasing a spot at the ATP World Tour Finals are in action today in Valencia and Basel, with 14 matches on the card across this week’s two ATP 500 events.
We managed to make a small profit on Tuesday, after Milos Raonic and Steve Johnson played out the almost inevitable tie break in set one of their Basel clash, while a superb serving day from Kevin Anderson wiped out my second wager.
A rusty Raonic creaked to a breaker against Johnson, but Anderson put in over 80 percent of his first serves and saved all eight break points against my man Philipp Kohlschreiber and you have to say ‘too good’ there.
We start from 11:00 UK time today in Valencia and 12:00 in Basel and there are a few favourites who are on my list to potentially take on today.
David Ferrer and Andy Murray are the obvious two after their long week and tough run generally on tour and Ferrer admitted he is, “tired because I have had two very hard weeks with several matches over two hours.”
But both Ferrer and Murray have opponents that they have a combined 14-0 record against today in Andreas Seppi and Jurgen Melzer, which doesn’t inspire confidence in those underdogs.
Ernests Gulbis vs Borna Coric
Over in Basel at around 13:00 UK time the bedraggled Gulbis drags his weary and battered body onto the court against up and coming young prospect Coric, who has a decent chance today.
Gulbis has been struggling for some time now with his right shoulder and it doesn’t look like it will get much better between now and end of the season.
The latest comment from the Latvian, after he was beaten by Roberto Bautista-Agut in Moscow at a tournament where he clearly wasn’t able to serve or hit forehands to his usual level read: “Everything hurts right now. It’s the end of the season and my body is tired. I don’t know if I will be playing in Paris. I have to rest.”
Wild card Coric on the other hand should be keen as mustard to make an impression here and show a wider audience what he is capable of – which is rather a lot from the times I’ve watched the 17-year-old Croat.
He’s been on a good run in Challengers lately too, with a win in Izmir followed up by beating number one seed Dusan Lajovic in Tashkent before falling to Lukas Lacko.
We saw a bit of what this kind can do in Umag this summer when he made the quarters before losing in three and his improved serve can keep Gulbis at bay for a while at least.
The 2.70 about a Coric win or the 1.63 about him taking a set look good, as does the over 9.5 games in set one at 1.70.
Another interesting match in Basel takes place at 19:00 when a second young prospect takes on an established star.
Alexander Zverev has been hotly tipped for big things and he too showed some of his ability on the clay this summer when making the semis in Hamburg, but he’s done little since.
I think he’ll enjoy this big stage against Grigor Dimitrov though and the over 9.5 games in set one appeals there at 1.94, as does the +1.5 sets at 2.70 if the German is on his best form.
Back in Valencia we might see Pablo Carreno Busta grind out a win over Feli Lopez, who’s never done well here, and Roberto Bautista-Agut seems a little short against Santi Grialdo too, but Coric in Basel seems the best choice to me today.
Best Bet: Back Coric to beat Gulbis at 2.70