Marin Cilic v Denis Istomin
Retaining his title in Moscow is going to be a challenge for Marin Cilic who has a lot of points to make up in the ‘Race for London’. It would take some strange set of results from the players ahead of him to allow Cilic to get into the World Tour Finals, but he will still look for a strong end to the season to set up the 2016 season.
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He will have to take on a form player in Denis Istomin who won the Challenger in Tashkent last week and was also a comfortable winner in the First Round in Moscow. Istomin will be confident with the title in the bag, but he played quite a lot of tennis last week with a number of three set wins needed and I do wonder if fatigue will play a factor in this one.
The slower conditions means Istomin might have to fight through more rallies to see off Cilic and that is when that fatigue begins to play a part more and more. Marin Cilic has the edge when it comes to the serve and he has been too good for the players he has been expected to beat in recent weeks.
There are still some inconsistencies in his performances having seen 2015 hurt by injuries, but Cilic has won five of his six previous matches against Istomin. These two players haven’t met this season, but I think Cilic holds the edge in this match and can work through for a 63, 64 win.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Marin Cilic – 3.5 Games @ 1.95
Mikhail Kukushkin v Andrey Kuznetsov
After knocking off the big hope of Russian tennis in the First Round, Mikhail Kukushkin will be hoping to see off another in Andrey Kuznetsov in the Second Round. Kukushkin was born in Russia, but represents Kazakhstan so the fans might be a little more keen on supporting Kuznetsov in this Second Round match.
I don’t want to underestimate Kuznetsov at all as he has put together some successful weeks on the Tour and has played much more tennis than Kukushkin who hasn’t been in action since Kuala Lumper earlier this month.
Kuznetsov has a decent serve and he can bring together some really good tennis to the court, but the same can be said for Kukushkin. Both players will likely have their moments in this one as they get hot and cool off with their shot-making, but it could be a great match to watch if both are putting together their best tennis at the same time.
I just feel Kukushkin can sustain a higher level than Kuznetsov for a longer period of time and that should give him the edge and help him through to the Quarter Finals. The first set might need a tie-breaker to separate them before Kukushkin pulls clear in a 76, 64 win.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Mikhail Kukushkin – 2.5 Games @ 1.80
Prices correct at time of writing.
Prices provided by Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage.