Dog to Bark in Moscow

  • By: Derek Bilton
  • Last Updated: October 14 2012, 15:09 BST

Alexandr Dolgopolov: Tipped for Kremlin Cup success

2pts Alexandr Dolgopolov to win the Kremlin Cup at 4/1 (Stan James).

3pts Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to win the If Stockholm Open at 2/1 (bet365, Stan James).

1pt Tommy Haas to win the Erste Bank Open at 7/1 (Bet Victor).


There would be no more popular winner in Moscow this week than Nikolay Davydenko, a Russian who has claimed three Kremlin Cup titles in an illustrious career that peaked when he hit the dizzy heights of three in the world.

His latest ranking is 42 however and results this season suggest that 'Kolya' is a player on the slide.

At his brilliant best Davydenko was a player of agility, skill and seemingly limitless energy.

He was one of the best returners in the game and mixed things up well from the baseline. However, he is 31 now and those reflexes have slowed somewhat.

There isn't so much devil in his forehand and he is not dominating matches like he once could. The layers feel he is a threat this week with some firms going as short as 4/1 but at that price I'd rather be a layer than a backer.

Andreas Seppi is enjoying the best year of his career and if you are following form over the past six weeks you would have to say the Italian has a real shout in Russia.

However I'm not sure his game is ideally suited to indoor terrain and so for this reason I am going to side with Alexandr Dolgopolov.

'The Dog' is a prodigiously gifted player who on his day has the talent and on court nous to live with the very best. However he is not that consistent and that is the reason why he is yet to crack the world's top 10.

He is only 2-2 at this venue but the Ukrainian magician should be motivated to go deep here.

Dolgopolov has won two ATP titles in his short career (Umag and Washington) but if the 23-year-old knuckles down and puts the graft in he has the potential to be remembered as one of the best of his era.

To do this he really needs to start doing the business in events such as this, where truth be known the field is pretty mediocre. He has a decent draw and if he can get his first serve percentage up the top seed looks a punt at 4s.

In Sweden, Tomas Berdych is the man the layers want onside at the If Stockholm Open.

Berdych nearly rewarded Bettingzone followers last week in Shanghai when as a 40/1 shot he reached the semi-finals before being bundled out by Novak Djokovic.

He is a fantastic player with all the shots who can run riot on any surface when in the mood. However he is also a player who can get down on himself and looks a tad short at 7/4 in Scandinavia.

Gael Monfils and Nicolas Almagro will be aiming to topple Berdych, but I like the look of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at 2/1.

The Frenchman loves it indoors and has already won two ATP titles this season. He will be looking for the win with the World Tour Finals coming up shortly and the courts in Sweden look to his liking.

Finally to Vienna where Juan Martin Del Potro is a red hot betting jolly to land the Erste Bank Open.

Del Potro is a beast of a player who can rip it from the baseline from both wings. However I'm not sure how match tight he is so instead I am going to go with gnarled veteran Tommy Haas.

The game looked up for Haas a few years ago as injury threatened to finish his career. However he has battled back and has looked in fine fettle these past few months.

He is serving huge and has all the experience in the world. It's incredible to think that Haas won this event back in 2001 so it would be some story if he could go to the well again 11 years later and get his hands on the trophy.

He's not the most likely winner but I would give him a puncher's chance against anyone in this field and so fancy he is worth a bet at 7/1.

  • Preview posted at 1510 BST on 14/10/2012.