After some great play in Moscow last week, the Tour moves to St Petersburg and fresh from victory in the Russian Capital, in form Janko Tipsarevic will be looking to add a third ATP title, to his collection. 

The favourite

Somewhat surprisingly, it’s Croatian 23-year-old, Marin Cilic who comes into this event as the tennis odds makers’ favourite, (3/1). Cilic has not had a great year and for me it’s a little difficult to see him winning an event in which there are several other top players, all currently in better form than him. 

Cilic is still to win a title in 2011 and whilst the draw here does seem to have been very kind to him, I do not see a complete run through to a victory in the final. Even playing below his best, Cilic can make it through to the semis or final here, but for me, the confidence just isn’t there at the moment and therefore my money would not be on the favourite. 

The man in form

Janko Tisparevic is clearly the man in form at the moment. After the disappointment of not winning his first Tour event in Eastbourne, (lost in the final to Seppi), the Serbian, has not looked back and since that time has picked up the winner’s trophy in Kuala Lumpur and just last week in Moscow.

Now up to World No. 14 and brimming with confidence, Janko should be able to find his way into the last 8 here without too much trouble. After that, there will be one or two sterner tests and tiredness could start to play a part, after coming off the back of a long week in Moscow.

Tipsarevic is certainly the man to beat here though and I would far prefer his odds of 4/1 to the 3/1 on offer for Cilic.

Gilles Simon

This is a big week for Frenchman, Gilles Simon, who will be well aware he needs to go for maximum rankings points, if he still harbours hopes of making a late leap into the London finals. Simon is ranked No.1 here in St Petersburg and he’ll need success here plus a great run in Paris to have any chance of London.

Odds of 7/1 for a top seed are very tempting to the tennis betting urges indeed. Simon does seem to have fallen into a tougher section of the draw than others, which certainly go someway to explaining such generous odds, but there’s no question he is capable of beating every player at this event, so the Frenchman could well be worth backing.

Other picks

Mihail Youzhny and Alexandr Dolgopolov are both available at around 8/1 with the tennis bookmakers and both men are capable of success. Dolgopolov has been on a stunning rise up through the rankings and has really come to prominence across 2011. His first title (Umag) along with a couple of big scalps at the Australian Open and a stunning first set with Novak Djokovic in New York, have left ‘The Dog’ sitting at World No.17 and still looking to climb further before the year is out.

If Dolgopolov can find that little bit more consistency, whilst maintaining the unpredictability of his shot making, 2012, could see a move toward the world’s Top 10 for the Ukranian. For the time being, Dolgopolov is certainly able to win this one, and after a disappointing exit in Moscow last week, he’ll certainly be gunning for big improvement.

2011 hasn’t been a great year for Mikhail Youzhny but playing this event in his home country will give the 29-year-old Russian a big boost. He won here back in 2004 but is still to register a title in 2011. Like Gilles Simon, it’ll be a tough journey through the draw, if the current World No.34 is to make it, but he is certainly another with good chances.

Picks

If Tipsarevic doesn’t tire then I really like his odds of achieving back-to-back titles. It’s not easy to pick out just one man here though, and as a backup in the free picks, I feel there is some great value in Dolgopolov.