Sunday’s play in week 42 of the 2013 ATP World Tour sees all three finals take place in this week’s ATP 250 events in Vienna, Moscow and Stockholm.
It was one winner from my two bets on Saturday, with Robin Haase not requiring the 3.5 game handicap in a straight sets win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, while Ivo Karlovic was a touch below par against Richard Gasquet and was unable to take the required set.
Richard Gasquet vs Mikhail Kukushkin
The first of our championship matches today is the Kremlin Cup in Moscow at around 12pm UK time today.
It will be the second meeting between this pair, with heavy favourite Gasquet winning their only prior encounter on slowish outdoor hard in Toronto last year in straight sets.
It’s good to see Kukushkin back playing some great tennis again after a long spell with injury issues and this run to the final here will see the Kazakh leap back up to around number 67 in the world rankings.
Kukushkin is a very good player, who has had some fine results in the past against the likes of Stan Wawrinka, Gael Monfils, Mikhail Youzhny etc, but he does suffer badly from nerves and is likely to choke if he gets ahead.
Gasquet, if he stays focused, should win this in two sets at around 1.70.
Robin Haase vs Tommy Haas
A potential nightmare for commentators here in this first ever meeting between Haas and Haase, which begins in Vienna at around 12.45pm UK time today.
The Dutchman has played the better tennis of the two finalists here in Vienna this week and as I mentioned yesterday, he has a great record in Austria, which now reads 18 wins to five losses in his career, so there’s something about the country that Haase likes.
But now that Tommy has made the final after struggling through pretty much all of his matches here at the Wiener Stadhalle his experience is likely to prove key in his 29th tour level final.
The German has won 16 of his previous 28, but only one of his last four. He hasn’t won a title on indoor hard since back in 2007 in Memphis, so he’s not a massive favourite here for me.
Haase has played just three finals before today and they have all been in Austria or Switzerland. If he can serve well from the off he certainly has a shot today, but I do question his temperament.
The market I like here is the first set total games with over 10.5 games likely at around 1.60 and Haase to win it is an option too at 2.55. Tommy has struggled all week in opening sets and this seems to be where Robin’s opportunity lies.
David Ferrer vs Grigor Dimitrov
I said yesterday that the match between Dimitrov and Benoit Paire could have been anything and so it proved with a typically up and down encounter effectively decided by Paire’s knee injury, while Ferrer overcame another of tennis’s characters in Ernests Gulbis.
So, today’s Stockholm final at around 2pm UK time represents a perhaps unexpected opportunity for Dimitrov to revive what’s been a poor end to a season that has allowed us little more than glimpses of what he can do on a tennis court and little in the way of actual progress.
This is only the Bulgarian’s second final after his loss to Andy Murray in Brisbane at the start of the season and he is up against it again taking on Ferrer, but at least the match conditions are in Dimitrov’s favour indoors against the Spaniard.
We know that Dimitrov has the game to beat the best on a good day, but I am much happier siding with the reliability of Ferrer today, as he’s shown much more of his trademark battling this week than he has all summer.
He’s had to come from behind in all of his matches and if you fancy Dimitrov then backing him to win set one at 2.30 looks the best call, but I’m happy to take the 1.55 about Ferrer outright here.
Back over 10.5 games in set one of Haas/Haase at 1.60
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