The second round of Masters action from Paris sees the big guns enter the draw, and below is a 4/1 double covering some of the best action.
Juan Martin Del Potro v Marin Cilic – Cilic to win at least one set – 5/4
Marin Cilic described the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to reduce his ban for doping from nine months to four as the ‘gift of the year’ and the popular Croat took full advantage by winning his first match since June.
The former world number nine now has a golden opportunity to further announce his return to the big time against the game’s most in-form player as he takes on recent Basel and Tokyo winner Juan Martin Del Potro in the second round.
Cilic was understandably rusty in the opening set of his return against Igor Sijsling but responded admirably to take the next two sets, serving down 22 aces and firing 42 winners en route to a 5-7 6-1 6-4 success.
The 25-year-old was clearly delighted at being back on court and his enthusiasm for the game that he thought he would not be playing competitively again until next year could cause his Argentinean opponent problems.
Their recent record coupled with the form of the world number five suggests that this should be relatively straight forward for the favourite, however, the 6ft 6” big hitter has never played as much tennis in such a short period of time and is facing a man bristling with energy.
Cilic has not won a set in their last four meetings but in a match which seems certain to have at least one tie-break considering the speed of the courts in Paris, the 5/4 on offer that the Croat sustains his momentum and takes at least a set appeals.
Del Potro is poised to permanently replace Roger Federer at the top-table of men’s tennis but he is still vulnerable to injury and fatigue. His berth at the end of season championships at the O2 is secure and it would not be a surprise to see him start slowly against a player who is revelling in his surprise opportunity to showcase his talent once more.
Tommy Haas v Philipp Kohlschreiber – Total sets – Exactly three @ 5/4
The German Tennis Federation probably didn’t anticipate that in 2013 it would be two players in their thirties that separate the nation from complete obscurity in the game.
However, that is very much the case as 35-year-old Tommy Haas and Philipp Kohlschreiber, five years his junior, are still by some margin the best the country has to offer.
There seems to be no burden felt either with both men posting excellent campaigns this season, reaching six finals between them.
World number 12 Haas is the only one to have converted those appearances into trophies, with his second win of a remarkable campaign coming in Vienna last week.
His countryman’s form has been less inspiring since reaching the second week at Flushing Meadows at the beginning of September, failing to win more than one match in his next six events. But despite their contrasting preparations this match seems destined to require a deciding set, something that has been the case in four of their six meetings to date.
The younger man actually won their last meeting in Valencia 2-1 and looks likely to trouble Haas once more with the hyper-reactive courts complimenting his heavy-artillery serve.
Kohlschreiber isn’t playing well enough to win inside the minimum distance whilst Haas’ ability to finish the task quickly is also becoming a rarer feat, as seen last week when he had to survive two deciding sets to lift the prize.
Odds of 5/4 that the match goes the distance is more than fair.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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