Stan Wawrinka v Kei Nishikori
The conditions in London look faster than they have been for the World Tour Finals in recent years. It will be interesting to see how the players deal with things in the coming days, but neither Stan Wawrinka nor Kei Nishikori can afford to make a slow start in their adjustments, to what looks a very strong group.
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Only two players will go through to the Semi Finals, so the winning player in this one will take a big step towards that, although it is Andy Murray that will be considered the big favourite to go through. It isn’t straight forward though, with Wawrinka and Nishikori both knowing they are capable of beating Murray and so their opening match against one another is going to be very interesting.
It has all the makings of a really tight match and their past matches against one another suggests that will be the case, with one or two key points making the difference. Stan Wawrinka has a definite power edge in the contest, but Kei Nishikori might feel he has the better consistency, although a faster surface should give Wawrinka a little edge, which can make all the difference.
The only Swiss representative in the World Tour Finals has the bigger serve too and that can only aid Wawrinka, although he hasn’t really performed to the standards that saw him win the US Open since that triumph. Nishikori did reach the final in Basel, where the conditions will likely be similar to those in London, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we need to go deep into a third set to separate these players.
I do think Wawrinka can win this one outright if he can serve well, but I will take the games at a decent price and look to him to keep it close, even if he doesn’t quite have enough to take the victory.
Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Stan Wawrinka + 1.5 Games at 1.94 with 188BET
Marin Cilic v Andy Murray
This was initially a 4.5 game start for Marin Cilic which would have been very appealing, but taking the games at odds against still looks a positive in the second match of Group B which takes place this evening.
Cilic will be battling the home fans, as well as World Number 1 Andy Murray, who is coming into this tournament looking to have a big run in London for the first time.
Both players have been in very good form in the indoor portion of the tennis season and the quicker conditions in London will give Cilic a real chance to upset players in the World Tour Finals. If he is serving well he can get a few short balls from which he can penetrate the Murray defence and he did beat the British player when they met in the quick conditions of Cincinnati.
I don’t think this court will be as quick as Cincinnati or Dubai, but we saw Murray have some issues with the big hitting from Fernando Verdasco and Tomas Berdych when he played those two in Paris. The courts at the O2 Arena are expected to be of a similar speed as the ones in Paris, so Cilic must feel he has the power to break down the Murray defence too.
Murray is going to be very motivated here this week and he has a lot of momentum behind him, having been on a long winning run since losing in the US Open Quarter Final. However he has beaten none of the top eight players in that run and he has lost the last two times he has played those players that have ended in these spots. On the other hand, Cilic has had some big wins since the US Open and I think he will keep this one competitive and I will back him with the games in the pocket.
Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Marin Cilic + 3.5 Games at 2.32 with Pinnacle
Prices correct at time of writing.