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Monday, 13 November 2017

ATP World Tour Finals Day 2 Picks 2017 (November 13th)

The ATP World Tour Finals got underway on Sunday and it was Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev who got off to winning starts to set up a match between the two on Tuesday.

That means Jack Sock and Marin Cilic will also play in a match where the losing player is almost certainly going to be exiting the tournament in the Group Stage.

On Monday we move onto Day 2 at the O2 Arena with all eyes on the evening match between Rafael Nadal and David Goffin to see if the World Number 1 is going to be ready to play. All the suggestions are that Nadal will play, but that he is far from 100% and would not have taken part if this was not the final tournament of the season.

It is not one that I would expect Nadal to be favoured to win if at full health, so it is a surprising decision to play in London if he is not feeling like he can compete to the best of his ability. If I was Nadal I would have decided to put an end to the 2017 season, had a two week break to really let the knee settle and then start preparing for the 2018 season which will begin in under two months time.

However Nadal clearly feels a responsibility to be at the World Tour Finals as the World Number 1 and it will be interesting how long he can give his best.

Grigor Dimitrov - 2.5 games v Dominic Thiem: With the doubts surrounding Rafael Nadal going into the ATP World Tour Finals, the likes of Grigor Dimitrov and Dominic Thiem have to feel there is a real opening to get into the Semi Final. The winner will certainly feel they have taken a step towards that in the section where there are some question marks about three of the four players in the Group.

The one that may be coming into this one with clear thought of mind has to be Grigor Dimitrov who has already stated 2017 has gone as he would have hoped. I still think there was room for better from the Bulgarian, but his performances have improved from eighteen months ago when it looked like Dimitrov's career was floundering.

Now he is back amongst the elite on the ATP Tour and Dimitrov has piled up the wins since the US Open which will give him confidence. Dimitrov recently reached the Final in Stockholm and he has won plenty of tennis matches since his surprise loss at the US Open and I can understand why he comes into this one as the favourite.

While Dimitrov has been playing well, Dominic Thiem is just 2-5 since the US Open when he blew a two set lead in his loss to Juan Martin Del Potro. For the second year in a row Thiem comes into a tough portion of the season with questions about how much he has left in the tank after a long and successful season.

Last year he won his first match in London before losing his last two matches and going out in the Group Stage. Even that win over Gael Monfils was against a player who had issues with his fitness which meant he could not play all three matches in the tournament and I think Thiem is going to have to answer the questions about how much he has left for London again this year.

These two players split two matches in 2017, but both were close and arguably it is Dimitrov who should have won both matches. This is likely to be a tough match as the two players deal with some nerves and they are closely matched, but I will be looking for Dimitrov to make one or two bigger plays which helps him in this one.

Dimitrov has just been a little more successful on the return recently and I will look for the Bulgarian to find a 7-6, 6-4 win in this one.

Rafael Nadal - 4.5 games v David Goffin: A major injury at the French Open meant David Goffin missed several weeks on the Tour as well as seeing two Grand Slams being missed. That should have meant he was not going to have the points to make it back to London having played as an alternate last season, but injuries to some of the big names opened the door for the Belgian.

This time he has finished in one of the top eight positions to earn his spot in the Group Stage and Goffin will get to play all three matches this week. He has been playing plenty of tennis recently which would have sapped some of the energy, while Goffin has to remain focused in light of the Davis Cup Final which is coming up as he looks to help Belgium go a step further than they did in 2015 when losing to Great Britain.

Belgium will need Goffin at his absolute best if they are going to beat France and so the Number 1 Ranked player in their country might not be as focused here in London as he otherwise would be.

Goffin, along with everyone else, also has to be wondering how fit and healthy Rafael Nadal is coming into the tournament. He was beaten by Nadal twice on the clay courts this season but Goffin is someone who can cause problems for opponents who are not at full speed and that is going to be a challenge for Nadal.

The knee injury is always going to be a concern for the Spaniard, but he has had a couple of weeks to prepare and I am sure we will get the best from Nadal if he has decided to play. While he may be restricted and vulnerable to the likes of Grigor Dimitrov, Alexander Zverev and Roger Federer later in the tournament, but this may be a match that Nadal can enjoy with the limited power that Goffin can use to try and hit through the court.

If Nadal is ready to go, I think he will be able to earn the bulk of the break points in this one and he can do enough to win this one 6-3, 6-4. However I would not be surprised if an alternate is needed later in the Group as Nadal thinks about 2018 and the new season but that may not happen until after he has secured a win in the opening match.

MY PICKS: Grigor Dimitrov - 2.5 Games @ 1.85 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Rafael Nadal - 4.5 Games @ 2.20 Ladbrokes (2 Units)

ATP World Tour Finals Update: 1-1, + 0 Units (4 Units Staked, + 0% Yield)

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