Our tennis betting expert Derek Bilton looks ahead to the ATP events in Basel and Vienna, and the WTA Finals in Singapore.
Few tournaments have given Roger Federer as much joy down the years as the Swiss Indoors event in his native Basel, and the iconic superstar is a warm favourite to claim what would be an historic ninth title this week.
Federer already has nine titles on the grass courts of Halle and will now look to match that feat on the indoor hard courts of Switzerland. If he pulls it off the 37-year-old will become the first player in the Open Era to win nine or more tournaments on two different surfaces.
His draw looks OK but despite his history in Basel he looks a little short in the betting at 13/5. Federer has not won a tournament since prevailing in Stuttgart and revealed last week that he has been struggling with a hand problem since the beginning of the grass court season. He looked very flat last time out in losing to Borna Coric in Shanghai and I’m not sure he can be trusted to carry our cash in the one-time tax haven.
In-form duo Ernests Gulbis and Daniil Medvedev are both in Federer’s half of the draw, along with the brilliant Stefanos Tsitsipas. Tsitsipas became the first Greek player ever to win an ATP title on Sunday as he romped to victory in Stockholm, and it should prove the first of many titles for the young gun-slinger.
In the bottom half of the draw Alexander Zverev and Marin Cilic are on a collision course for a semi-final showdown, and Zverev could be the play in Basel at 9/2.
‘Sascha’ has a tough opening match against big-serving Dutchman Robin Haase – who has won their last two matches – but if he comes through that he has the talent to match anyone in this field. He showed glimpses of his best during a recent run to the last four in Shanghai, and despite not being able to find the consistency to make him a title contender at the Grand Slams, these are the type of tournaments he often gobbles up.
Elsewhere Dominic Thiem is a 13/2 favourite with 888 Sport to win in Vienna, but his best showing in seven previous visits at his home event has been a quarter-final so he makes no appeal at current odds.
Caroline Wozniacki lifted the Billie Jean King Trophy to land the WTA Finals last year, but the Dane looks up against it after losing her first match against Karolina Pliskova on Sunday. Wozniacki has enjoyed a fabulous year, winning the Australian Open and finishing behind Simona Halep as world number two but looked lethargic and was struggling to find any rhythm in her White Group opener.
Pliskova is a 5/1 chance now to win in Kallang and that price looks appealing. She hasn’t had the greatest of seasons but has gone 43-19 this year and claimed titles in Stuttgart and Tokyo. Just as importantly, her form since the US Open has been encouraging and in theory she should relish playing on this type of terrain.
Conditions are pretty fast in Singapore and that should suit her best weapon, that booming first serve. There were doubts about how the Czech’s fitness would hold up after dashing here from Moscow, but the seventh seed looks right up for this and if she can cut out the errors from the baseline that sometimes plague her game she can cut a swathe through a field missing the quality of Halep and Serena Williams.
Bilko’s Banker: Alexander Zverev to win the Basel Swiss Indoors at 9/2 (bet365)
Best of the Rest: Karolina Pliskova to win the WTA Finals at 5/1 (bet365)
Who will replace Simona Halep at the top next week?
Serena suffers dramatic failure on brink of victory.
Coach talks candidly about US legend.
US Open champion looking tough to stop again.
Don’t miss a thing with our live scores centre…
Here is our pictorial from day nine.
Rafael Nadal already looking ahead to semis.
Czech in no mood to party.
Are we seeing the sparks of a legendary rivalry?
What next for Greek sensation?