The fourth day’s play at the ATP World Tour Finals features a clash that has the potential to light up what has been a quite disappointing tournament thus far.
World number two Novak Djokovic takes on Juan Martin Del Potro under the lights of the O2 Arena in London’s Docklands on Thursday night and, if their previous two meetings are any barometer, it should be well worth watching.
Wednesday’s wager at the O2 was a comfortable winner, as Tomas Berdych dominated David Ferrer and my straight sets bet provided a welcome 3.80 success in what is always a tricky week.
Novak Djokovic vs Juan Martin Del Potro (BET and STREAM LIVE on Unibet TV from 20.05 GMT)
With the memories of the last two clashes between this pair in Shanghai and Wimbledon still fresh in the mind, Del Potro aims to go one better than the tough losses he suffered on each of those occasions.
Beaten in a final set tie break on quick outdoor hard in Shanghai and in a fifth set on the lawns of The All England Club’s Centre Court, Delpo would love to get one over Nole today, but his task is a daunting one.
The big man has lost six of the last seven against Djokovic, however his cause may be aided by a fatigued Serb, who admitted it was a tough turnaround to come to London straight from Paris and start again after winning in Bercy.
Djokovic, like Rafa Nadal, seems to have reserves of energy that most mortals don’t and it would surprise few to see him bouncing around like an eager puppy once more tonight.
Delpo can hardly have a great deal in the tank after a crazy schedule over the autumn that has seen him chalk up 18 matches in five weeks and this one, like others here this week, could be survival of the fittest.
Djokovic has tended to start well against Juan and has won the opening set six times in their last seven matches. Delpo was also slow out of the blocks against Gasquet on Monday, so the first set market on the Argentine holds little appeal, but minus 1.5 games on the handicap on Novak winning looks good at 1.78.
The first set total games could offer a bit of value at under 9.5 games at a price of 2.15, as seven times in their 12 completed matches the first set been completed in nine games or fewer and only twice has it gone as far as 7-5.
If the court wasn’t quite so slow I would be tempted to take Del Potro purely on the fatigue factor, but this is a tough match-up for him and playing conditions such as these are perfect for Novak, assuming he isn’t out of gas.
Therein lies the problem for punters this week, with the fatigue factor of the players largely guesswork and I suspect what we'll see here is Del Potro giving it his all, but it not quite being enough to get the win.
For me the best play tonight is to either take Djokovic on the handicap in set one or Del Potro +1.5 sets at 1.95.
Back Del Potro +1.5 sets to beat Djokovic at 1.95