Stan Wawrinka delivered another winning wager for us on Saturday evening, when he dispatched Nico Almagro in the Copa Claro in Buenos Aires. The Swiss number two didn’t need the 2.5 game handicap and took down Almagro in straight sets to reach the final, where he will take on David Ferrer.
In Marseille, both Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had very comfortable afternoons and will face off for the title there, while Kei Nishikori takes on Feli Lopez in Memphis.
The first final of the day takes place at 1.15pm UK time in Marseille, where Berdych and Tsonga compete for the sixth time on the ATP Tour, with the Czech leading the head-to-heads 4-1. They’ve played three times indoors, with Berdych leading 2-1. Tsonga’s only win came at the O2 in London back in 2011.
Berdych’s most recent title win came against Tsonga indoors in Stockholm at the end of last season, but he’s not a prolific winner of titles on the tour, with just eight to show from his long career. In tour level finals he’s won eight from 16, while Tsonga has nine titles from his 16 - so their respective records in championship matches are pretty close.
For me, this final has the look of a three-setter written all over it and I think that Berdych is a little short in price at around 1.62 given that Tsonga does have a very good record playing at home in France.
His most recent appearances in his home nation have yielded a quarter-final in Bercy, the title in Metz, a quarter-finals at Roland Garros, a semi-final in Marseille, the final in Bercy and another title in Metz, so he should be at his best today in front of the French fans. Whether it will be quite good enough is another matter. I will be backing the over 2.5 sets at around 2.20 in this one.
The Copa Claro final begins at 5pm UK time and Ferrer is plenty short enough at around 1.27 against an in-form Wawrinka, who’s been been serving exceptionally well of late. The Swiss made 77% of his first serves against Almagro and those sort of numbers could trouble even a decent returner like Ferrer.
They’ve met on nine occasions in the past, with Ferrer leading 6-3 overall and 4-1 on clay. I would expect Ferrer to grind Wawrinka down in the end, but it might not be as straightforward as odds of 1.27 suggest, so the over 21.5 games looks worthy of consideration at a price of 1.80.
Finally, at around 9pm UK time Nishikori takes on Lopez in Memphis. It would be a surprise if the Japanese star lost this one to the Spaniard, who is looking for only his third title of a long career today. Lopez last tasted success back in 2010 in Johannesburg and this will be only his eighth final since 2004.
Nishikori has a fine record against left handers, winning nine of his last 11 matches and although he was beaten by Lopez in their only meeting, which was on the clay of Barcelona in 2011, I can’t see Feli defeating Kei in these conditions tonight.
Best bet: Back over 2.5 sets in Berdych vs Tsonga at 2.20