Murray Motivated To Become Number One
There are two ATP 500 events this week, and Andy Murray is the headline act in the ATP Vienna. Meanwhile, US Open Champion Stan Wawrinka is the top-seed on home soil in the ATP Basel.
Also known as the Erste Bank Open, the ATP Vienna is played on the indoor hardcourts of the Wiener Stadhatte, Vienna, Austria. David Ferrer has the best recent form in the event having won the 2015 renewal, though he was beaten in the 2014 final by the re-opposing Andy Murray.
The chance to become world number one for the first time has given Andy Murray new motivation after he appeared to have achieved his seasonal goals of winning Wimbledon and a second Olympic Gold Medal, and it’s hard to see past him here. Simon, Isner, Pouille and Lopez means the first-quarter is no pushover, but Murray would have to be below par to not make it to the semi-finals. At this stage, his most likely opponents will be Ferrer, Thiem or Edmund and, as he has outstanding recent records against all 3, he should book his place in the final.
Bautista-Agut has won his last-3 against the higher-ranked Tsonga, and that may book him a semi-final against Tomas Berdych. It’s 2-2 in their hardcourt head-to-heads, and it may be that the Spaniard has more motivation at this stage of the season. However, Murray should have the measure of whichever of them makes it through to the final.
Andy Murray to win @ 4/6 (Various)
The ATP Basel, also known as the Swiss Indoors, is played on the indoor hardcourts of St Jakobshalle, Basel, Switzerland. It has been dominated by 7-time winner Roger Federer in the last decade but, in his absence this year, the local crowd will be hoping his fellow Swiss hero Stan Wawrinka can claim his first ATP Basel Title.
Wawrinka has a potentially tough quarter-final clash against the resurgent Gasquet, who holds a 2-1 head-to-head lead, and won their latest encounter at Wimbledon in 2015. Meanwhile, the second quarter can fall to Jack Sock, who beat likely quarter-final opponent Cilic in straight sets in the US Open. Sock, who lost his only match against Wawrinka, will be hoping he plays Gasquet – and could be the value to make it to the final in the top-half.
Del Potro beat Federer in the final here in 2012 and 2013, but will probably have to overcome Goffin in the early stages, something he failed to do in the recent Shanghai Masters. The winner of that is likely to meet Nishikori in the quarters, and that’s a tough call with Del Potro leading him 4-0, but Nishikori leading Goffin 3-0. The last quarter appears to be between Dimitrov and Raonic, and it is the former who leads their head-to-heads 4-1, though he has never beaten Del Potro or Nishikori.
Del Potro’s previous wins here just sway me in his favour in the bottom-half but, as Sock is also 1-1 in his head-to-heads against both Del Potro and Nishikori, a two-pronged attack is recommended.
Sock @ 16/1 (Various)
Del Potro @ 6/1 (Paddy Power)