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Thursday, 16 November 2017

ATP World Tour Finals Day 5 Picks 2017 (November 16th)

The ATP World Tour Finals have a couple of players securing their spot in the Semi Final of the tournament, although the full participants for those Semi Finals have yet to be determined.

Roger Federer has won his Group and he will be a big favourite to go on and win this tournament having secured top spot with a three set win over Alexander Zverev.

On Thursday we will determine who will join Federer in the next Round when the winner of the Zverev versus Jack Sock match decides who finishes behind Federer after both of those players were beaten by the World Number 2.

That is the part of the evening session at the O2 Arena on Thursday and at least the two players who are going to be playing in the Semi Final will have a little rest before the Saturday Semi Finals, which may be seen as a disadvantage for those players in the second Group.

Roger Federer - 3.5 games v Marin Cilic: The first thing you have to consider is that this is effectively a dead rubber for both players, although Roger Federer is likely to be a little more motivated as he looks to keep the momentum going through to the Semi Final. You can't ignore the financial reward for winning each match at the ATP World Tour Finals so I don't think Marin Cilic is going to just throw this match away, but I do wonder how much belief or determination he will have if he does fall behind in this match.

This tournament may be one that Cilic looks back on as an opportunity missed as he was ahead in the final set of both of his losses to Alexander Zverev and Jack Sock so far this week. In fact the Croatian was three games away from the match on both occasions and that has to play on the mind as Cilic perhaps gets ready to have a break before preparing for the 2018 season.

Cilic has motivation to show he is better than what happened in the Wimbledon Final against Roger Federer when an injury prevented the former from really giving his best. That should inspire him as he looks to leave London with a win under his belt, but I can't shake the thought that Cilic may be lacking confidence having blown a couple of matches already this week.

While having a big serve which can be very effective on this court, Cilic has not really backed it up as he would have liked and he has been broken seven times in his first two matches. Now he has to face Federer who will make sure he is getting as many balls back into play as possible and trying to break down the Cilic forehand which can go haywire when not at his best.

The court conditions in London suit Federer although he was in a real battle on Tuesday evening against Alexander Zverev before coming through in the third set. His serve is very effective at the O2 Arena although Federer has to find a way to nullify the power that Cilic will be sending his way from the other side of the court.

Getting up to the net and forcing pressurised passes and the backhand slice could be key weapons for Federer who won't be attacked with nearly the same aggression that Zverev brought to the court a couple of days ago. While Cilic does try to play on the front foot, I think he can be caught up wondering what the best approach to some matches are and I don't think he will be able to beat Federer from the back of the court in this one.

I have been a little critical of Cilic's mental approach this week as he has blown two matches and I can see Roger Federer getting ahead in this one and the Croatian perhaps having issues to dig deep enough to recover. I will look for Federer to move into the Semi Final with three wins behind him and look for a 6-4, 6-4 win for the Group winner.

Alexander Zverev-Jack Sock Over 22.5 Games: The second Semi Final place out of this Group at the ATP World Tour Finals will be decided by Alexander Zverev and Jack Sock who have both beaten Marin Cilic in three sets but lost to Roger Federer. Out of the two players it was Zverev who managed to push Federer to a third set while Sock lost in straights, but both players will feel they played well enough to have every chance of winning this match.

Both were down in the final set against Marin Cilic before managing to turn it around for a vital win and that has to give them some confidence. However I have to say that some of the body language has not looked the best from either Zverev or Sock and that makes this a harder match to predict.

In their wins over Cilic, both Zverev and Sock looked like they had nothing left to give in the final set, but they could be helped in this one with the match likely to be serve orientated. That can help them conserve some energy and the match up looks a good one with the strengths and weaknesses going up against each other.

That means it will come down to which player is able to get on the front foot and dominate the rallies and thus the points. For Sock it is all about serving well and getting the forehand into play against the Zverev forehand which can be a potent weapon, but also one that can make too many mistakes.

The backhand will be dominated by Zverev who has much more power and consistency off that wing than the American, while Zverev also has a strong serve which can put him on the front foot himself. Both are capable of getting up to the net and I really do think there is very little between them at this stage of their careers.

Once Zverev gets a little more consistency out of the forehand, I fully expect the German to not only beat the likes of Sock more often than not, but I would expect this player to become a multiple time Grand Slam Champion as well as the World Number 1. At this moment I think there is some fatigue in play for both Zverev and Sock, yet it is the latter who may have had the better recovery time having had less tennis at the tournament and also played earlier on Tuesday than his opponent.

It has all the makings of a close match and I did consider backing Sock with the start on the game handicap. However I do think Zverev is the better player and this could come down to a final sett decider which makes the total games the way to go in my opinion.

I do worry that a player could lose heart if they fall a set behind, but this feels like a match that will be dominated by the serve and a two set win with at least one tie-break is not out of the realms of possibility. A place in the Semi Final should push both players to leave it all out there and I will look for the total games to be surpassed.

MY PICKS: Roger Federer - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Alexander Zverev-Jack Sock Over 22.5 Total Games @ 1.80 Sky Bet (2 Units)

ATP World Tour Finals Update: 4-4, - 0.64 Units (16 Units Staked, - 4% Yield)

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