Friday night was another profitable one on the ATP Tour, as my tip of the day, Grigor Dimitrov, progressed to the final in Brisbane. I had predicted that Dimi’s match against Marcos Baghdatis would be a tough one and so it proved, with the young Bulgarian holding his nerve in the final set tie breaker to take the win and land the win for this column.
There’s little in the way of ATP main draw action today, with Chennai’s matches being played this morning, but this afternoon’s Doha final could be very interesting indeed. At 3pm UK time Nikolay Davydenko takes on Richard Gasquet for the seventh time in their careers and after a very impressive display against David Ferrer yesterday, Davydenko has been put in at around the 1.50 mark to grab another Doha title.
The former world number three rolled back the years against Ferrer, producing a dominant performance of clean ball striking that was this trademark a few years ago when he was a top-10 regular. If he reproduces that sort of form today then Davydenko should win, but I think that 1.50 is a little bit short.
Gasquet has dismantled the Davydenko game in the past – most notably in the 2010 US Open when at similar match odds to today the Frenchman cruised through 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. As ever with Gasquet the most frustrating element of his occasionally brilliant play is his tendency to sit far too far back behind the baseline. He could come unstuck again today if he continues with those strange tactics.
I think the layers have overreacted to Davy’s performance yesterday in this one and I’m going for Gasquet with a 3.5 game start on the handicap at 1.75.
Tonight’s Brisbane final will be one worth watching with Dimitrov taking on Andy Murray, who benefited from a knee injury to Kei Nishikori in their semi-final last night. Murray has been patchy all tournament and was 1-4 down to the Japanese until he clawed back the opening set 6-4. Although I expect him to have too much experience for Dimitrov tonight, it could be close.
It will be Dimi’s first tour level final and he’ll be nervous of course, but I still expect him to push Murray – at least for a while, so there could be options on the handicap there too. But for me that’s one to watch and I’ll side with Gasquet with a start today as my bet.
Back Gasquet +3.5 games to beat Davydenko at 1.75