Agnieszka Radwanska v Karolina Pliskova
I have no interest in trying to pick a winner from the first match in Singapore on Friday as it is a dead rubber in which I can’t see a reason for either Svetlana Kuznetsova or Garbine Muguruza to really want to push for the win. That looks like it could be a case of who can ‘tank’ the most effectively, but the second match has plenty on the line.
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Both Agnieszka Radwanska and Karolina Pliskova have a chance to be the last Singles player to make it through to the Semi Final in the WTA Finals and that means plenty of motivation for both. Radwanska is the defending Champion here and has a very strong 6-0 record against Pliskova and is yet to drop a set against this opponent, and it has to be said that these head to head records have proved quite decisive in a couple of the matches.
That isn’t a sole reason you can pick anyone to win a match, but I do think there has to be some concern about Pliskova’s ability to produce her best serves. That is imperative for her whole game but Pliskova struggled against Svetlana Kuznetsova to get the pop we are used to and being dragged into long rallies with Radwanska is only going to lead to one winner.
Pliskova has admitted to having some issue with the shoulder which would also have been a little more sore having played in the Doubles Quarter Final. It would take something special for the issue to have cleared up in time for this Group match and I think Radwanska can take advantage, while she is also capable of extending rallies to wear down her opponent who has already had a lot of tennis in the legs this week.
The conditions are ones that Radwanska should enjoy having won the title here last season and I think she will be able to battle through a couple of tight service games for big holds at big moments. Pliskova will be dangerous if she decides she has no choice but to hit out, but I still think Radwanska can earn her way to a 64, 63 win and a place in the Semi Final.
Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Agnieszka Radwanska – 4.5 Games at 2.09 with Eastbridge
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga v Albert Ramos-Vinolas
The head to head might read 4-0 in favour of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, but that doesn’t tell you how competitive matches between the Frenchman and Albert Ramos-Vinolas have been the last two times they have played on the Tour. Both of those matches have gone the distance before Tsonga has gotten the better of Ramos-Vinolas, but I am backing Tsonga to have a slightly more routine day in Vienna on Friday.
I have to respect the fact that Ramos-Vinolas was willing to dig as deep as he did to beat home favourite Jurgen Melzer on Thursday. It also can’t be ignored that while the Spaniard might not be as keen on this time of the season on the Tour and has struggled for wins, he did reach the Final in Chengdu when he picks up some momentum, while the lefty serve is automatically going into the weaker Tsonga wing.
Those are all factors that are pointing to Ramos-Vinolas, but you have to appreciate how close he came to losing to Melzer on Thursday. Someone like Tsonga is unlikely to let him off the hook and I think the conditions will favour the heavier game Tsonga has which will allow him to push the Spaniard backwards.
If Tsonga is serving well he can also put some pressure on Ramos-Vinolas from a mental standpoint and I think it will be Tsonga who has the majority of break points in this one. Some of the Ramos-Vinolas losses since the US Open have come in comfortable fashion and I think Tsonga is capable of making life easier than usual against this opponent with a 75, 63 win.
Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – 4.5 Games at 2.05 with Pinnacle
John Isner v Andy Murray
The chase to become World Number 1 for the first time in his career means Andy Murray is perhaps playing more tennis at the moment than even he would like to be doing. 2016 has been a long season for Murray and overcoming Novak Djokovic’s lead to become World Number 1 is a distinct possibility in the next couple of weeks, but it will mean winning more tennis matches.
There have been a couple of signs that perhaps Murray is feeling all that tennis and this might be a rare occasion when he is happy to be facing someone like John Isner. The serve is a difficult shot to deal with, but Murray won’t be taxed too much from a physical standpoint as the rallies are unlikely to develop into the long ones he had to face against Gilles Simon.
I am of the belief that Isner has lost a little bit around his game, but the indoor hard court conditions should be just about perfect for his serve. He might be even more dangerous if Murray is serving as poorly as he did on Thursday, but I think Murray is one of the smarter players on the Tour who will take something off the first serve to make sure he keeps the pressure on Isner.
I do think there is potentially a chance that Murray is going to just have some troubles again in this one and a break of serve for Isner could be crucial with the number of games he is being given. Even without that break, Isner has the kind of serve that might be tough for a mentally tired Murray to break down twice and this could easily end 76, 64 in favour of the British player and I can’t help this is too many games at odds against for Isner to have.
Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: John Isner + 3.5 Games at 2.17 with Eastbridge
Prices correct at time of writing.