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Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Pouille could have energy to burn after France cup triumph

Impressive Zverev value to end season as top-ranked man

Lucas Pouille could receive a boost from helping France win the Davis Cup
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ATP and WTA seasons start on Sunday

After a fairly nondescript final few months in 2017 Lucas Pouille finished last year with a dominant win over Steve Darcis in the deciding rubber of the Davis Cup final and it could pay to expect the Frenchman to continue making progress in 2018.

Coral and Ladbrokes make Pouille 8-11 to finish the new season ranked higher than American number one John Isner and like early value-seekers who have already got involved in the bet, that could be worth taking.

Isner still has an outside chance of Grand Slam glory at the US Open, but that's highly unlikely to happen. He turns 33 in April and time is clearly running out for the world number 17.

Pouille starts the year ranked one place below Isner, but the Frenchman, who hails from near Dunkirk, is potentially the most complete ATP performer his country has ever produced.

He is strong on all surfaces and pretty good indoors as well as outdoors. In short, there are few weaknesses and it's a surprise when his form lets up as was the case towards the end of last season.

That 6-3 6-1 6-0 win over an admittedly below-par Darcis near Lille in late November, however, could provide Pouille with the impetus he needs to prosper at the start of the new tennis year.

Despite that fallow campaign finish, Pouille won 36 of his 58 matches in 2017. Isner won a similar 38 of 60 outings last season, but there should be a lot more fuel in Pouille's tank in 2018 and that's why the odds-on is worth taking.

There is no better young player in tennis than Alexander Zverev and the German, who finished 2017 ranked world number three, is worth a punt at 20-1 to finish 2018 on top of the pile.

The long-time big four, of whom only Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were seriously active last season, are all in their 30s and Zverev has already performed well enough against Fed and Novak Djokovic to suggest a changing of the guard may happen soon.

On the WTA Tour, Maria Sharapova can be considered at 5-6 with bet365 to win at least two titles in 2018 as can WTA Finals Singapore heroine Caroline Wozniacki at the same price with the same firm to win at least three.

But those markets are seldom as simple as they may appear and it could be wiser sticking with just a couple of men's punts.

Recommendations
L Pouille to finish 2018 ranked higher than J Isner
2pts 8-11 Coral, Ladbrokes
A Zverev to end 2018 ranked world number one
1pt 20-1 Betway


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Isner still has an outside chance of US Open glory but that's unlikely to happen. He turns 33 in April and time is running out for the world number 17
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