Friday is quarter finals day in this week’s three ATP 250 indoor events, with all to play for as we enter the final stages of competition.
Yesterday’s wagers made a slight profit, as two of my four odds-against selections were winners, with Evgeny Donskoy and Dominic Thiem proving comfortable winners, while Lukasz Kubot narrowly failed to land the opener against Fabio Fognini and the wrong set went long in Pim Pim Johansson against Milos Raonic.
Jerzy Janowicz vs Ernests Gulbis (BET and WATCH LIVE on Unibet TV from 11.05 BST)
The first of the quarter finals on the card in Stockholm is this intriguing fifth meeting between JJ and Ernie. The pair have shared their four previous encounters and I suspect that the Pole’s lack of match practice and sharpness will count against him when taking on an in-form Gulbis.
Janowicz defeated Gulbis as a qualifier at Wimbledon in 2012 9-7 in the fifth set, but much has changed since then. Janowicz wasn’t tested at all by an injured Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in his opening round match here, which was his first since the US Open due to an arm injury and his focus is likely to be on the huge amount of ranking points he has to defend in Bercy in a couple of weeks time.
He’s down to play Valencia next week, so he won’t be too disappointed by a loss here, but I still expect a close match between these two. Gulbis dealt with another big server in Igor Sijsling on Thursday and he has the ability to do so again today.
Radek Stepanek vs Tommy Haas (BET and WATCH LIVE on Unibet TV FROM 14.20 BST)
This 4pm UK time clash of two gnarly tour veterans in Vienna may well end in retirement, as Steps has not been exactly subtle about his questionable conditioning here this week after a title-winning run in Mons last time out.
The Czech has Davis Cup in his sights and won’t be taking any undue risks here and for that matter neither will Haas, who’s not shy of a retirement himself. Steps looked very average in his fortunate win over Lukas Lacko here on Wednesday and it was arguably Lacko’s own physical state that allowed Steps to come through that one in a final set breaker.
Haas is a real long shot for the World Tour Finals, but while he still has a chance he’ll be more motivated than today’s opponent in what will be their seventh meeting of a series that’s currently tied at 3-3.
I found it strange that Haas said after his narrow win over Miloslav Mecir that the courts in Vienna were slow and the balls heavy, as it’s pretty much the opposite of every other view I’ve seen and read – including my own. In any case Steps will need to step it up if he has any chance today and the 1.67 about Haas looks good to me.
Outsiders I would give a decent chance to today include Andrey Golubev in Moscow against Mikhail Kukushkin and Fernando Verdasco against David Ferrer in Stockholm, but the prices look a touch short on each for me.
Back Gulbis to beat Janowicz at 1.80
Back Haas to beat Stepanek at 1.67