Semi-final Sunday at the 2012 ATP World Tour Finals saw us attain one winner from two bets at the O2 Arena in London. Juan Martin Del Potro found himself a set and a break up on world number one Novak Djokovic in the day’s opening match thanks to some vintage hitting, but unfortunately for the Argentine’s fans he was unable to keep up the pace.
Djokovic was allowed to gain a foothold in the match, which was all he needed to gain the upper hand, but my over 2.5 total sets bets was a winner at 2.50, which was enough to make a profit on the day.
My second wager was on Andy Murray, who, after leading by a break early on against Roger Federer in the evening match, failed to find his best form. The Swiss moved through the gears to strike back and snatch the opener before easing through the second set. It was a disappointing effort from Murray, but it does set up a final to savour between defending champion and world number two, Federer, and world number one Djokovic.
Hopefully the O2 crowd will be treated to something a little more competitive than the most recent four meetings between this pair, all of which have been straightforward wins for one or the other. The last memorable match between them was the US Open semi-final of 2011 and Federer will fancy his chances tonight having won three of their four meetings on indoor hard courts. The Swiss also won the only meeting to have taken place at the World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena, although Djokovic did beat Fed indoor in the Basel final - on Fed’s home turf.
Both players have been in patchy form in this tournament, with moments of brilliance and some pretty average stuff. Much of that can be blamed on the late stage of the season. Federer was excellent yesterday in the second set against Murray, but hit a lot of shanks and unforced errors before that against Del Potro. Djokovic looked to be on his way out against Delpo, but managed to find something eventually.
If Federer finds his best form he’s certainly the value pick in the match odds market at around 2.35, but what interests me in the matches that these two have played against each other lately is this: whoever has won has won with a bit to spare.
When Federer has defeated Djokovic in best of three set matches – and he’s done that eight times in completed matches – he’s usually won by at least four clear games. The one exception was their very first meeting on the clay of Monte Carlo back in 2006. Similarly, when Djokovic has beaten Federer in their best of three set matches – and he’s done that seven times – the Serb has won by at least four clear games each time bar one, which was the Montreal final back in 2007.
So, the pattern of comfortable wins is worth noting and therefore there should be more value in the -2.5 game handicap market if you fancy a Djokovic win today. The price on that is 2.02, which for me represents the value bet if you’re on the Serb today.
It’s such a tough one to call, as their history shows, but I just think that the 2.35 about a Federer win is the bet tonight. I don’t think Novak has been at his best this tournament and Federer is perhaps the more determined of the two to grab this title on a surface that suits him perfectly.
Back Federer to beat Djokovic at 2.35