For the second consecutive weekend, the favourites managed a clean sweep on the Men’s Tour as Roger Federer claimed his 6th Basel title and a motivated Andy Murray saved five match points on his way to victory in Valencia; all but sealing his place in next week’s ATP finals in London.
However it may be a different story in this week’s ATP Paris Masters which has attracted a stellar field with all the top players lining up except the injured Rafa Nadal.
Current world number one Novak Djokovic has been chalked up as the 2/1 favourite as he makes a quick return to action following the birth of his first child, but it will be interesting to see how fatherhood effects him. The “nappy factor” as it is often called can have a polar opposite effect on sportsmen; aspiring some to raise their game, whilst it can have an adverse affect on others, including Roger Federer (though he had twins).
Djokovic also looks to be in much the more difficult half of the draw whilst, with his sights more likely to be set on London, he may be happy using this as a warm-up without exerting himself too much by reaching the final.
Another player in the tougher half is Andy Murray though, as he’s surely done enough to get to London, and he looked tired after this weekend’s epic final, I’m also happy to leave him out.
With doubts over the shortest two in the betting in the tougher half of the draw, it’s easy to think there is a bit of value to be had this week and I’m happy to back both David Ferrer and Kei Nishikori each-way in the hope one of them reaches the final.
Ferrer appeals slightly more of the two as he’s shown in both of the last two years (winner and runner-up) that he likes it here. Meanwhile, US Open runner-up Nishikori may also be able to capitalize on slow hard-courts that should suit his game.
In the other half of the draw it’s really hard to find a reason why Roger Federer (10/3) won’t make a serious bid for a hat-trick of titles after his wins in Shanghai and Basel; especially as victory here and in London may well see the 33-year-old regain number one spot in the world rankings.
This week’s Tennis predictions are:
4 points Federer @ 10/3
1 point each-way Ferrer @ 20/1
1 point each-way Nishikori @ 16/1
Julien Bennetteau @ 1/2
Fernando Verdasco @ 1/2
Gael Monfils @ 3/10