Day four at the O2 Arena in London sees Stanislas Wawrinka going head-to-head in a must-win encounter at the ATP World Tour Finals.
After both lost their opening matches in straight sets each player will be desperate for a win on Wednesday to keep their qualification hopes alive, with tough clashes against Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal still to come.
And it was a tough night for Novak Djokovic backers in London on Tuesday night, as the world number one produced his worst performance in recent memory to tamely go down in two sets to Roger Federer.
Under aces backers were in the money again, but as good as Federer was on the night he was given a big helping hand by Djokovic, who gave an honest and accurate assessment of his performance.
"I made a lot of unforced errors. Just handed him the win, especially in the second set,” Djokovic said and that pretty much sums up a match that even Federer admitted that he hadn't expected to win.
On to Wednesday then and the evening match at 20:00 is an intriguing one.
Stanislas Wawrinka vs David Ferrer
The nature of these year-end events means that each player must be 100 percent ready in their very first match to have the best chance of qualifying and Wawrinka clearly wasn’t.
The Swiss was dismal in his opener against Nadal and paid the price for racking up 35 unforced errors in just 17 games, which meant that exactly half of Rafa’s points came from UEs from the racquet of Stan.
Surely he won’t play as badly as that again after Wawrinka admitted that: “Many little things that weren’t good today. For sure, if you look it's a really bad match.”
And he’ll be pleased that his second match is against Ferrer, with Wawrinka having won his last three over the Spaniard, including here at the O2 back in 2013.
He also won the two most recent on clay and if he plays somewhere a lot closer to his best than he did on Monday he should consign Ferrer to a very probable early exit from the tournament.
Of course, things are not always that simple with the complex Wawrinka, who often appears to play his matches without a care in the world, looking like he’d rather be anywhere else than on court.
If that’s the case again Ferrer will make him pay, but hopefully we’ll see a vast improvement from Wawrinka after that shocker against Nadal.
But that’s all it is with Wawrinka – hope – and I’d much rather focus on the stat markets here and Wawrinka -5.5 aces at 1.80 looks a good bet to me.
The total aces line has been set at 9.5, yet the layers think that of those nine or 10 they think that Stan will only hit just over half of them.
Given Ferrer’s serve stats that seems unlikely and a look back at matches in these conditions reveal that Ferrer hit zero against Andy Murray in match one here and in Bercy he also hit none against Murray; three in three sets against a poor returner in John Isner; two in three sets against Grigor Dimitrov; and two against Alexandr Dolgopolov.
Last year here he hit two in three sets against Kei Nishikori and against Wawrinka here in 2013 Stan hit 14 aces to Ferrer’s nil and in the other O2 matches that year he lost the ace contest 10-1 to Tomas Bercych and 3-1 to Rafa Nadal.
So, I’d expect maybe two or three at best against Wawrinka today, while Stan hit 10 in that poor performance against Nadal in his opening match here and 11 against Rafa in Bercy.
This one should be very competitive, with both players needing the win, and the longer it goes the more I like this wager.
Value bet: Back Wawrinka -5.5 aces at 1.80