Fed express back on track
Roger Federer has shown enough form to suggest he is overpriced at 10/1 with sportingbet to land a seventh title at the World Tour Finals next week, reckons our man Tim Clement.
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The 16-time Grand Slam champion's performances have steadily improved since a worrying summer slump, avenging his final defeat Basel to Juan Martin del Potro at the Paris Masters, where he pushed Novak Djokovic close.
That loss, which came after leading by a set and a break, could prove a blessing in disguise with the Swiss star gaining an extra day's rest, increasingly important at 32 years of age.
With 20 titles from indoor events, Federer is the most successful active player in the sphere by some distance, with the predictable conditions allowing him to construct aggressive points more consistently.
The draw has certainly not been kind, however, with Djokovic, Del Potro and Richard Gasquet together, meaning three of the four favourites are placed in the same group.
However, a gruelling final battle with David Ferrer means Djokovic will be at his most vulnerable when Federer gets to face him on Tuesday.
There is no doubt Djokovic justifies his favouritism and I would not talk anyone out backing him at Sky Bet's industry leading price of 5/4, even if the greater value still remains with Federer.
Excusing a sloppy first set against Federer, the Serb has been back to the top of his game since his US Open final defeat to Rafael Nadal and benefits from the slightly slower conditions at the O2 Arena.
Indoor events typically suit the big-hitting, lower percentage aggressive players but Paris, which has a similar-paced court to the O2 Arena, saw two more patient ones go the distance, with Ferrer once again defying his label of being a clay-court specialist.
It will be a surprise to many that Rafael Nadal has not been mentioned so far, given the Spaniard has put together one of the most remarkable campaigns ever seen in the sport.
However, his indoors record is poor and you sense the emotional and physical expenditure offered up since his return is catching up on. In other words, the guy needs a holiday.
He admitted his movement was not good enough in his defeat to Ferrer at Bercy, while a couple of wins will be enough to see him end the year as world number one.
Del Potro is considered the other contender at 8/1 (888), with five of his last eight titles coming indoors, but major concerns still sit with his inability to rack up titles at the top level events.
Not a single Masters or Grand Slam title have been landed since his 2009 US Open triumph, pointing to a vulnerability against the top players at the business end of tournaments.
I hold even greater concerns over the mental strength of Stanislas Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych against the top guys, while it would require a phenomenal physical effort for Ferrer to continue to produce his best tennis. At the prices, I'd rather stick with Federer.
- The action gets under way at 1200 GMT on Monday and is being televised live in the UK on Sky Sports.