Wed, Oct 17, 8:27am by Staff Writer
The 2018 ATP and WTA seasons are drawing to a close, with a number of indoor events rounding out this season’s calendar.
The penultimate ATP Masters 1000 event took place in Shanghai last week, with Novak Djokovic prevailing for the fourth time at the event.
He defeated Boric Coric in straight sets in the final after the young Croat got the better of veteran Roger Federer in the semi finals.
It caps a terrific second half of the season for Djokovic as he chases down Rafael Nadal’s world number one ranking.
In the WTA there were tournament wins for Italian Camila Giorgi at Linz on indoor courts and Caroline Garcia and Dayana Yastramenka won Tianjin and Hong Kong respectively.
Three ATP 250 indoor events and two WTA indoor events headline this week’s action.
Antwerp in Belgium hosts the country’s only ATP event for the third time in 2018, with Canadian Milos Raonic the $5 favourite to take out the title.
The courts traditionally don’t have a lot of pace on them and that makes the big serving Raonic a risky proposition at such a short price.
Top seed Kyle Edmund has had a difficult season and is not at his best on slow courts. He benefits from a first round bye and is $6.50 to win the title.
Richard Gasquet loves indoor events and won this tournament in 2016. He is second favourite at $5.50.
Injury riddled Frenchmen Gael Monfils ($9) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ($9) are likely to attract plenty of attention this week but neither is worth a risk given their injury concerns this season.
Argentine Diego Schwartzman ($15) has not yet found his form of 2017 this season, but the 2017 Antwerp finalist is a nice price at $15 to win this week on a surface that will suit his return game.
The fastest courts of the three ATP events this week will be at Stockholm in Sweden. This event has a long history and its most recent champion is Juan Martin Del Potro.
Big serving John Isner is the $5 favourite to win this event, with Denis Shapovalov and Stefanos Tsitsipas next best at $7.
Isner has not had a great time of things since his Wimbledon semi final run and is just 60-50 all-time on indoor courts.
He faces a tricky potential quarter final against Frenchman Lucas Pouille ($8.50). He skipped the Asian swing this season after injury concerns, but came away with a five set win against Roberto Bautista Agut in the Davis Cup semi finals on indoor hard court.
Pouille won the indoor event in Montpellier this season and was runner up in Marseille just a fortnight later.
Fabio Fognini made the 2017 Swedish Open final and is priced at $10, but his retirement through injury in Beijing and withdrawal from Shanghai makes him a risky bet.
In Moscow the top seed is Italian Marco Cecchinato in what is the weakest of the three events this week.
Cecchinato has made a name for himself on clay courts but has shown improvement on hard courts this season.
Martin Klizan loves indoor courts and lost in the St Petersburg final to Dominic Thiem last month. This is the first time he is playing in Moscow and he is priced at $42 to win the tournament.
Another smoky in Moscow is Ricardis Berankis who plays his best tennis on indoor hardcourt. He is $66 to win the tournament and has progressed to the second round after defeating Denis Istomin.
It is not often the world number one ranked player is an underdog but that is what Simona Halep ($2.37) is for her opening match in Moscow against home town favourite Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova ($1.53).
Halep has struggled with injury in recent months and retired in her last match in Beijing. She could well be turning up in Moscow at an event she won in 2013 to get some match fitness ahead of the WTA Finals in Singapore next week.
An event with decades of history is the Luxembourg Open, a title that has traditionally been won by many an underdog.
Last year’s winner was the unseeded German Carina Witthoeft, who was bundled out in the opening round of this year’s event.
Spaniard Garbine Muguruza is the favourite to win the event at $5 and will be tough to beat despite indoor hard court being a surface she has played on the least in her career.
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