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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

ATP World Tour Finals Day 3 Picks 2014 (November 11)

I have been going to the World Tour Finals every year they have been held in London and my biggest complaint has always been how much it costs to watch one Doubles and one Singles match. The O2
Arena is a great place to watch tennis, but it has to be remembered it is not a purpose-built court, and so you have to really be place in the inner bowl if you want to have a close up view as you would in a lot of courts around the world, Arthur Ashe being the real exception.

So asking people to pay around £75 a ticket to watch a session seems a lot considering at the big Grand Slam events a similar priced ticket would give you decent seats on the premier court where you will have the opportunity to see some of the best players.

Some will say those prices are only comparative to the early Rounds where the matches can be a little one-sided, while the Tour Finals should have every match being of high quality, but Tuesday's action is what I have always been wary of.

How much value for money would it be if the Singles match, which is essentially what is bringing in the punters, finishes in under an hour? That happened not once, but twice on Tuesday as Tomas Berdych and Marin Cilic combined to win just four games in their two losses and I wouldn't be impressed having spent that much money to watch would the score suggests were uncompetitive matches.

Aside from Friday evening, and the Semi Finals and Final, I am not surprised that the organisers don't sell out the Arena because I think they are pricing people out of coming down- tennis has always had that problem in the UK where even hiring a court for an hour play is ridiculous and there are empty courts up and down the country at the weekend because of that. The next generation of stars that Britain will produce are unlikely to come when tennis remains such an elitist sport that costs a lot to play and watch and that is a real disappointment.

I was stunned by the scoreline that Stan Wawrinka put on Tomas Berdych considering the form that both players showed over the last two months, while Novak Djokovic matched that 61, 61 win by doing the same against Marin Cilic in the evening match. Djokovic needed two more minutes than Wawrinka, but both matches were completed under an hour of play and both will be strong favourites to progress to the Semi Final, although they have to face one another next.

The tournament works so the two winners and the two losers from the first round of games meet each other in the middle match in a bid to keep the event competitive through the Group Stage. By doing that, there is a very high chance that at least one of the Thursday/Friday final Group matches are very competitive with everything to play for.

That does seem to make the most sense, although it does also potentially leave one match having nothing on the line, although a four player Group is always likely to have that after four of the six matches are played.

Roger Federer - 3.5 games v Kei Nishikori: I was impressed with the way Kei Nishikori bounced back from going down a break of serve to home favourite Andy Murray and turn that match completely around to win in straight sets. Nishikori took advantage of the nerves that Murray was clearly playing with and there were too many short, passive shots from Murray to have a real chance of winning that match.

That shouldn't be the case from Roger Federer who plays with a lot of aggression and will get a lot of balls deep into the court. He will be ultra-aggressive on the second serve return so Nishikori will need a higher percentage of first serves if he is to come through the match.

Federer's backhand might be a problem against the consistency that Nishikori has on that wing, but the Swiss World Number 2 can employ the slice to perhaps make things a little more awkward for his opponent and bring him forward to deal with a low ball rather than those that were sitting up that Murray was playing.

It has to be a good serving day for Federer though if he is to win this and cover this number of games because Nishikori has an under-rated return and is aggressive on that, especially if he is seeing a lot of second serves. However, I think Federer will have enough success on the Japanese star's second serve that he can ride through a couple of hairy moments and win this 63, 76 which will almost guarantee him a place in the Semi Final.

Andy Murray - 2.5 games v Milos Raonic: The reason I think it will almost guarantee a place for Roger Federer is because I think Andy Murray can also beat Milos Raonic and will still have to face Federer in the final round of games.

Murray was very nervous and apprehensive in his opening loss to Kei Nishikori, but this has to be a match where the home hope can at least relax a little and play with an almost nothing to lose attitude. The defeat to Nishikori already makes it difficult for Murray to qualify for the Semi Final, so he shouldn't be restricted in his performance and has a decent return that could extract the errors from the Raonic game.

Out of the the players, Raonic is in the more desperate spot if he is going to move through to the Semi Final with the 61 first set loss to Federer putting him in a tough spot. The Canadian has a huge serve that can get him out of trouble, but the court at the O2 isn't playing that quick and the second serve can be a bit of problem from which Raonic can sometimes struggle to win enough points.

Raonic does have a decent record against Murray with wins in 3 of their 4 matches, but the last one in Indian Wells was more down to a Murray collapse than anything the Canadian really did to change things.

Both players will have been disappointed with the way they were defeated in their first match, but this is a critical one that I can see Murray making enough returns that force errors from Raonic and come through 76, 64.

MY PICKS: Roger Federer - 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Victor (2 Units)

World Tour Finals Update: 2-2, + 0.04 Units (8 Units Staked, + 1% Yield)

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