It was one winner from my two best bets on Saturday at the end of week nine on the 2013 ATP World Tour. The day began well when world number one Novak Djokovic was able to cover his 4.5 games handicap against Tomas Berdych in the Dubai final to land us a winner, but the real talking point came later on.
Many observers, including myself, had expected Rafa Nadal to be sternly tested by David Ferrer in the Acapulco final, but a superb display from Rafa and a below par one from Ferrer led to a convincing win for the former world number one, who prevailed for the loss of just two games.
I’m not sure many would have predicted a scoreline of 6-0, 6-2 to Nadal, who looked back to his best and now travels to Indian Wells for the Masters 1000 event with confidence restored. It will be interesting to see how Nadal gets on back on hard courts in California next week. It’s hard to see him challenging for the title, but it’s certainly good for the men’s game to have him back fit.
There’s just the one match to focus on today and that is the Delray Beach final between Ernests Gulbis and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, which begins at 8pm UK time.
Often the week before a big tournament (Indian Wells is referred to by some as the ‘fifth major’) you get some strange results and this is the first time since 2007 that a tour level final has been contested by two players ranked outside the top 100.
Gulbis has certainly had to scrap to reach this final, after coming back from the dead against Sam Querrey and saving five break points in his last two service games against Tommy Haas last night before taking the final set breaker.
Roger-Vasselin is contesting his first ever tour level final at the age of 29 - although he has played 11 finals at all levels in his career, winning four of them. Gulbis is playing in his third tour final and he’s won both of his previous championship matches as underdog – against Mardy Fish in LA in 2011 and here at Delray Beach against Ivo Karlovic in 2010.
He’s won six of his last seven finals and combined with a 3-0 record against Roger-Vasselin it makes the unpredictable Latvian around 1.33 to win today. It's hard to make a case for the Frenchman really, although I've seen too much of Gulbis to trust that he's put all the inconsistency behind him just yet. I think he'll win in two today though so I'm going for Gulbis -3.5 games on the handicap at 1.80.
Best bet: Back Gulbis -3.5 games to beat Roger-Vasselin at 1.80