It’s finals day on Sunday in our three venues on Week 30 of the ATP World Tour.
We’re in decent shape for the week after another two winners from my three best bets on Saturday. Robin Haase and Kevin Anderson were both comfortable winners on the handicap, although Victor Hanescu failed to make it a hat-trick in a loss to Mikhail Youzhny.
The Russian and Haase face off in the day’s opening championship match in Gstaad at 10.30am UK time and to me Youzhny looks a tad short at around 1.45 all things considered.
The 31-year-old does have a perfect 4-0 head-to-head record over Haase and perhaps that is skewing the odds a touch, as Youzhny’s record on clay isn’t that good, with just two titles in his long career and none since 2010.
Youzhny has tended to specialise in reaching finals on clay only in Germany. This will be his first championship match on clay at tour level outside that country – and his first anywhere since that 2010 Munich win.
Haase, on the other hand, loves the altitude and will be defending back-to-back titles in Kitzbuhel next week. Conditions suit the Dutchman and he should be able to land the win here with a 2.5-game start on the handicap at 2.08. This could be a close one and the pair’s two most recent meetings, which both took place on grass, which is not a good surface for Haase, have made Robin’s price backable.
I said yesterday that the Fabio Fognini and Gael Monfils match in Umag would be one to watch and not bet on and so it proved, with Fogna taking the opener 6-0 and then blowing a 5-0 lead in the decider before saving match points and eventually prevailing. Quite a match and amazingly, after winning nothing for years, Fogna now goes for his third straight title.
The Italian will be tired, but opponent Tommy Robredo looked shattered too at the end of his match against Andreas Seppi yesterday. I would think that the Italian will be too classy if he plays as he has been doing of late. The -1.5 games on the handicap at 1.77 looks the bet here, but the fatigue factor puts me off somewhat.
Finally, over in Atlanta, Anderson takes on John Isner, who came out on top in the marathon encounter I predicted yesterday against Lleyton Hewitt, finally prevailing in a final set tie break. We may well see something similar when the final begins at 8pm UK time tonight. The overs is set predictably high in this one, as previous encounters in the Anderson v Isner series have been lengthy affairs.
Serves will dominate again tonight: of their nine previous meetings, only one has failed to feature at least one tie-break. There isn’t a great deal to separate these two on paper with Isner leading the career series 5-4.
For me Anderson is the better all-round player and I’ll be siding with the South African in this one as slight underdog. Isner hasn’t shown anything much this week with struggles against Hewitt, James Blake and Christian Harrison, and Kevin has certainly been in much the better form in 2013.
It will probably be a long three-setter, but Anderson ticks more boxes than Isner and is the value here at around 2.05.
Back Haase +2.5 games to beat Youzhny at 2.08
Back Anderson to beat Isner at 2.05