It was one winner from my two bets on Saturday in the opening week of the Asian swing in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. I said yesterday that Gilles Simon might prove to be a tough match-up for Janko Tipsarevic, but I still expected the Serbian to eventually come through and pull out the win in the deciding set in Bangkok.
However, Simon looks to be in excellent form and he frustrated the Serb, as he has done on previous occasions, by simply not missing. Tipsy was unable to find a way through and was overhitting as he searched for a way past the brick wall that is Simon. The Frenchman goes through to the final, where he will face countryman Richard Gasquet.
There was better news from Kuala Lumpur though, as my advice of backing the overs in the match between Kei Nishikori and Juan Monaco proved to be correct. In a strange encounter, Monaco, who is often not the best frontrunner, led early and had chances to make it a fast win, but Nishikori fought back and led 5-2 in the decider before losing it 7-6.
Gasquet came from a set down to take out Milos Raonic’s conqueror Jarkko Nieminen and will face Simon in the final, a match that will be their seventh career meeting of a series dominated so far by Gasquet. The world number 14 leads his fellow Frenchman 5-1 in the head-to-head, but they are playing indoors for the first time today.
It’s not been a surface that’s been overly kind to the Gasman in his career; he has never actually won a tour level title on an indoor hard court. This week is his first time past the semi-finals indoors at tour level since losing the Metz final to Jermome Haehnel way back in 2004.
Simon has enjoyed more success indoors by comparison and has looked to be back to the sort of form that saw him make the final of Madrid (when it was held indoors) in 2008 and win Metz in 2010. Tipsarevic proved that Simon is difficult to hit through in these conditions and if it wasn’t for the negative match-up he would certainly look a better bet at around 2.10 than Gasquet, who has had some long battles this week at 1.74
Over in Kuala Lumpur it’s the first ever meeting between Monaco and Julien Benneteau, the latter having taken down tournament favourite David Ferrer in their semi-final. Benny is yet to win a career title and his record in finals is poor at all levels, with a 0-6 record at tour level. This doesn’t inspire confidence at a price of 1.85
Monaco is yet to win a title on indoor hard, but he is 8-9 lifetime in finals at all events and he’s won three of his last four at tour level. I think that the Argentine is the more likely to come through this one, given Benny’s notoriously fragile temperament and Monaco, although not a great front runner, seems a much better proposition at around 1.85.
Back Simon to beat Gasquet at 2.10
Back Monaco to beat Benneteau at 1.85