Kremlin Cup Tennis Betting: One last hurrah before Safin bows out
Marat Safin brings his illustrious career to an end when his participation in the Kremlin Cup is over but there may be one last twist as he faces a jet-lagged, albeit in-form, Nikolay Davydenko.
"How much effort Davydenko will muster in Moscow is up for debate after his considerable efforts on the Asian swing, so at around [3.5] Safin has to be the bet given that Davy has more or less certainly cemented his place at the end of season jamboree in London."
One of the most unpredictable, charismatic and popular players of all time calls it a day once his participation in the Kremlin Cup is over. And Sean Calvert believes Marat Safin may yet give his army of fans one last moment of joy as he tackles the fatigued Nikolay Davydenko in round one...
There was no beach ball to disrupt proceedings, but a man named Rafa found himself on the wrong end of a bad result at the Shanghai Masters.
In a tournament that was little short of a total disaster for the organisers and sponsors, due to a barely believable amount of retirements and withdrawals. Nikolay Davydenko was the last man standing as he inflicted another damaging defeat upon Rafa Nadal.
I said in last week's preview that it would be a tournament for the outsider, but even I was shocked when I watched Feliciano Lopez make the semis at .
Sadly for Lopez backers, the Spaniard, who had lost an incredible eight matches on the bounce at ATP tour and Davis Cup level, became another injury statistic, but Shanghai showed those who were in any doubt, just how little the players care about Autumn tournaments.
However, we can try and use this to our advantage at this week's Kremlin Cup, as we try and figure out who will be putting it in over in Moscow.
There will, no doubt, be cash for Marat Safin ([13.0]) as the popular Russian plays his last tournament in his hometown, but the draw hasn't exactly fallen kindly for the former world number one, who must face Davydenko first up ([2.9]) in what should prove a fascinating clash.
Safin has beaten Davydenko in all three of their hard court matches and it was Safin who emerged victorious in last year's Kremlin Cup clash between the pair.
How much effort Davydenko will muster in Moscow is up for debate after his considerable efforts on the Asian swing, so at around [3.5] Safin has to be the bet given that Davy has more or less certainly cemented his place at the end of season jamboree in London.
The top section of the draw looks tough, with the winner of Safin v Davydenko (4-3 to Davy overall) facing either last year's champion Igor Kunitsyn ([33.0]) or Evgeny Korolev ([28.0]).
If Davydenko and Kunitsyn both win, they will face each other for the fourth time in little over two months on this year's ATP Tour.
Considering that Davy has won all five of their Tour level meetings thus far, the defending champion will be hoping that Safin, who he beat in last year's final, emerges victorious.
Elsewhere in the top half of the draw there could be a bit of value away from the Safin sideshow at a tasty price of around [22.0] in the shape of Igor Andreev.
Andreev is in shocking form at the moment, having lost three fourth round matches in a row, but as we saw with Lopez last week, form isn't always the best guide and I wouldn't be at all surprised if the 2005 champion came good again in his home city this week. He certainly won't be tired from recent exertions at least.
Given that the winner here has been a Russian for the last five years and in 10 out of the last 12 renewals it's a fair bet that it will be the same in 2009 and perhaps it's the turn of Mikhail Youzhny?
Another Moscow resident, Youzhny has surprisingly never won this title, despite indoor hard being arguably his best surface, as he showed in Asia where he reached the final in Tokyo and the quarters in Kuala Lumpur.
It's hard to ignore his six first round defeats at this event though and a price of around [6.0] seems low considering those losses and the fact that Youzhny has only once made the semis in Moscow in 10 attempts.
The surface changed from a Taraflex RukortPRO carpet surface in 2007 to a RukortHARD court surface and that may be in Youzhny's favour, but he's far too inconsistent to be backed at the current odds.
Back Andreev outright at around [22.0] - small stakes
Back Safin to beat Davydenko at around [3.5]
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