Andy Murray’s withdrawal from the ATP World Tour Finals means it is eight of the top nine male players that will step on court in London in 2013, with Novak Djokovic out to retain his title of 12 months ago.
However, he is not in action on the opening night, as Stanislas Wawrinka makes his debut in the competition against Tomas Berdych and 2009 runner-up Juan Martin del Potro looks to continue his impressive previous record over Richard Gasquet.
At first glance, it may be slightly strange to see Berdych as the slender favourite at 8/11 in this Group A opener, given that Wawrinka has triumphed in five of the last six meetings between the pair, including the latest two in 2013.
However, Berdych has won both previous showdowns on indoor hard courts and another two on carpet, while all of Wawrinka’s successes have come outside.
The pair have met 12 times previously and only one of the last seven have been settled in straight sets.
Three sets here can be backed at 5/4, while the 4/5 that Berdych takes the opening set is reasonable, as this is something he has done in the last three hard-court meetings with Wawrinka.
Taking everything into consideration, Berdych winning a match that requires a deciding set looks the most profitable play.
Both players have claimed indoor hard court titles in recent weeks, although the competition for Del Potro in Basel was of a slightly higher standard than that faced by Gasquet in Moscow.
Still, it shows both arrive in London in decent form, but it is Del Potro that has dominated the recent head-to-head record between the pair, winning five on the bounce and dropping just one set in this period.
Del Potro’s odds to win this Group B opener 2-0 is available at 8/15, while it is 5/6 that the Argentine triumphs conceding a 4.5-game handicap, which is something he has successfully overcome in their last two encounters.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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