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Sunday, 11 November 2018

ATP World Tour Finals Day 1 Tennis Picks (November 11th)

The absence of Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin Del Potro does have a negative impact on the ATP World Tour Finals, but the eight players who are competing in London won't be worrying too much about events out of their control.

Both Nadal and Del Potro are expected to be back for the start of the 2019 season in around seven weeks time, although I won't be surprised if both don't return until the Australian Open which is set to begin in two months time.

For now the concentration of the players is to try and put an exclamation mark on the 2018 season and try and take some momentum into the 2019 season.

It didn't really work for Jack Sock and Grigor Dimtirov twelve months ago, but the overall quality of the field looks much better this time around and I expect a more notable winner.

Personally I can't look past Novak Djokovic even though he was beaten in the Final of the Paris Masters last Sunday, but Roger Federer will be hoping to have something to say about that.

Debuts for Kevin Anderson and John Isner will be enjoyed by those players and their teams as a reward for career best years, while Marin Cilic will be looking to round into some form before the Davis Cup Final is played in a couple of weeks time as Croatia take on France.

Day 1 at the ATP World Tour Finals will see Roger Federer headlining and the Picks from the two matches can be read below.

I will update the season numbers in the Tuesday thread.

Dominic Thiem v Kevin Anderson: The first match at the O2 Arena in the World Tour Finals has seen the layers set Kevin Anderson and Dominic Thiem as a pick 'em contest.

You can perhaps see why that is the case with Kevin Anderson comfortable indoors and having the booming serve which can be very difficult to break. He has won the title in Vienna and Anderson has been a player who has produced some of his best tennis in the bigger tournaments throughout the year which makes the big South African a very dangerous customer in the conditions that we are likely to see at the O2 Arena.

His opponent has much more experience of playing at the ATP World Tour Finals and Dominic Thiem had shown some decent form in the last few weeks of the season. It does feel like Thiem is in better fitness shape than he usually is when it comes to the final weeks of the season and he has picked up his play on the hard courts which suggests he could be a threat to progress.

In all honesty both players have to feel anything less than a win will not be good enough for them if they want to make the Semi Final. That makes the match a little more intense than it may otherwise have been and increases the pressure on both players to perform.

It would have been much tougher for Thiem if he had not managed to snap his losing run to Anderson and beat him twice this season. That gives him the mental edge in a match where Thiem is going to have to be concentrated throughout and I do think he can win this match.

Much will depend on how well Thiem can serve- he is playing an opponent who has struggled with his return and the Austrian has a decent hold percentage which should mean he is able to hold onto serve and keep the pressure on Anderson. In any potential tie-breaker you would say Thiem's superior returning should come to the fore and backing him as the underdog is appealing enough in this opening match.

Roger Federer - 3.5 games v Kei Nishikori: The second Singles match on the day sees Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori meet yet again having faced each other twice in the last month.

Both times Roger Federer has managed to get the better of Kei Nishikori and I would expect the Swiss star to do that again in this opening Group match.

I've backed Federer both times in those recent wins, although it should be noted that he is being asked to cover a number of one game higher than has been the case in the last couple of matches these two have played against each other. Much of that may be down to the fact that Federer has looked the stronger player and he was a dominant winner when they met in the Paris Masters at the end of October.

The Federer serve is a big weapon for him and it is a key difference between these two with the Nishikori serve much more vulnerable. Nothing has really changed to think that won't be the case when the play in London, although their previous match at the ATP World Tour Finals was a much tighter three set battle.

The conditions at the O2 Arena have seemingly produce a lot more three setters than not, but Federer should be content with this match up and it will be tough for Nishikori to turn the trend against him. The top players all know they will have chances against Nishikori because of the obvious weakness he has with his serve.

Nishikori could have better success against the other two players in the Group, but this looks a tough match for him and I will back Federer to come through with a fairly routine win.

MY PICKS: Dominic Thiem @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)

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