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Thursday, 13 November 2014

ATP World Tour Finals Day 5 Picks 2014 (November 13)

It is not a surprise that Novak Djokovic has won his first two matches at the O2 Arena considering his long run of wins on an indoor hard court, but his performances have been as close to perfection as you could have asked for. The 61, 61 win over Marin Cilic looks to be as much about the Croatian's issues as it has about Djokovic, but it was the 63, 60 dismantling of Stan Wawrinka, a player that shouldn't have been short of confidence heading into the match, that was so very impressive.

Wawrinka had crushed Tomas Berdych and looked to be a real threat to Djokovic's long unbeaten run on the indoor hard courts and his three year run at the O2, but even the one-sided scoreline may have been a little flattering for the Swiss World Number 4. Djokovic dominated from the back of the court and mixed in the stunning shots with the impenetrable defence that should make him a very strong favourite to win here for the third year in a row.

The Australian Open was no match for Djokovic and Roger Federer will be very much hoping that Wawrinka can pick himself up quickly with a huge Davis Cup Final to be played in a week on Friday. It will also be important for Wawrinka to move on quickly with a crucial match against Marin Cilic to come on Friday that could see him book a Semi Final place in the short term, and a little over two months from defending his Australian Open crown in the 2015 season.

Group B will be decided on Thursday as the final round robin matches are completed and it does make it interesting for the picks considering Andy Murray's mindset for the second match is likely to change depending on what happens in the first match. Roger Federer is virtually assured of his place in the Semi Final outside of Kei Nishikori beating Milos Raonic very easily and then Murray doing the same to Federer, but winning the Group is vital for the World Number 2 to avoid Novak Djokovic until the Final.

That isn't a suggestion that Federer is 'scared' of playing Djokovic as he has proven that is not the case with a win over him at the Shanghai Masters, but meeting him the Semi Final would be a disappointment for Federer with that being the Final most are expecting.

It is possible the result in the first match plays a part in the second, but I think you can guarantee that Federer won't be looking to 'tank' in his match to keep the momentum behind him and end the 2014 season with the positives that he can take into the Davis Cup Final.

Milos Raonic + 1.5 games v Kei Nishikori: The court speed hasn't helped Milos Raonic so far this week, but I have to agree with the Canadian that he has failed to impose his own game on proceedings against Roger Federer and Andy Murray. That has been a big problem for Raonic, although he has to pick up his game and definitely get a higher percentage of first serves in play if he is going to find a way to beat Kei Nishikori.

There are a few problems that Nishikori is dealing with as his wrist is giving him some problems, but he knows he has a decent chance of making the Semi Final if he can win this match and I expect the Japanese star to dig deep.

He has also beaten Raonic in four of their five previous meetings including in a tight battle at the Tokyo Final last month, but many of their matches have been close and this tournament is still awaiting their first three setter of the week. Raonic does know that losing a set puts him out of the tournament which could mean the effort might not be as forthcoming after a long season if that happens which is my biggest concern by backing him to cover with a small number of game given to him.

On the other hand, Nishikori could be demoralised if his wrist is giving him problems and perhaps preventing the bite on his own serve and there is no doubt it'll be tough for him to win this match if his serve is a problem. I'll be looking for Raonic to end his time in this tournament with some pride and at least push Nishikori to a three setter if not winning this match in straight sets.

Roger Federer - 3.5 games v Andy Murray: The tournament organisers and the television companies may be desperate for Andy Murray to get through to the Semi Final, but I think he could be in a position where he has to win a number of games to do that. It won't be easy against a Roger Federer in the form he has been displaying through the 2014 season and who has won the two previous matches these two have competed in through the season.

Roger Federer remains one of the top indoor players in the world and he has been very good in his first two matches here and I don't believe the Andy Murray short ball that caused Milos Raonic so many problems has the same effect here.

They have also met three times at the O2 Arena since the End of Year Championships have moved to London and Roger Federer has won all three of those matches so the conditions seem to suit him. The slower courts give Murray a chance with his athleticism to make a lot of balls back in play, but Federer's aggression should prove to be a difference maker between the players.

Federer could be qualified by the time these players take to court, but he can play with the extra freedom that brings although he has lost one of his three matches in the Group over the last couple of years. However, this is the kind of match that should excite Federer and winning the Group is still a big goal of his you would imagine so I like him to prove too strong for Murray for a fourth time in this Arena and third time in 2014.

MY PICKS: Milos Raonic + 1.5 Games @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 3.5 Games @ 1.95 Bet Victor (2 Units)

World Tour Finals Update: 6-2, + 8.94 Units (16 Units Staked, + 55.88% Yield)

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