WE were burgled on Wednesday in Melbourne when both of my wagers lost by effectively one single point each when both could have been done and dusted as early as set two in the Roger Federer and Hyeon Chung matches.
Tennys Sandgren served for set two against Chung, failed from 30-15 up, and then didn’t take either of the break points right at the end of the match that would have seen him cover the handicap.
And Tomas Berdych did the same when he failed to serve out set one against Federer (he also had a set point to win it on Fed’s serve) and all too predictably fell away, having the trainer out at the end of set two.
To cap a disapppinting day, our outright in the women's event, Madison Keys, was comfortably beaten by Angelique Kerber.
We’re expecting some evening rain in Melbourne on Thursday on what will be a hot day (29C in the shade), but by the time the men’s semi final starts at (not before) 19:30 local time (08:30 UK) it should be a few degrees cooler, but with high humidity.
Marin Cilic vs Kyle Edmund
This will be a second career clash between Cilic and Edmund, with the other taking place on equally (if not a touch faster) conditions on outdoor hard in Shanghai at Masters 1000 level back in October.
It was a tight match that day, of few chances, and the difference between the pair was the 70% of points won by Cilic on his second serve, which is a very good return indeed.
However, Edmund has improved markedly this season, both physically and technically, and currently he looks a threat to even top-10 opponents, as he showed when beating an erratic Grigor Dimitrov in the last eight.
You’d expect nerves from Edmund in a major semi final, but Cilic is hardly rock solid in the mental strength department either and statistically there isn’t much between this pair at the moment.
In each man’s last-10 matches on outdoor hard at main level both have won eight and Cilic has recorded a service hold/break mark of 113.0 (87.8% holds/25.2% breaks), while Edmund is only a little behind on 108.6 (89.1% holds/19.5% breaks).
Those numbers (and while it’s a small sample it’s relevant as it covers matches between Shanghai and now) suggest that Cilic is the one more likely to nick that important break and it also suggests a high likelihood of tie breaks, but the price on that is no value.
Assuming Edmund isn’t fatigued after a long tournament this should be one decided by the odd point here and there and Cilic’s experience should see in home in four in a battle of two powerful forehands.
Of Cilic’s five career completed outdoor hard court matches at majors that he started at a price between 1.30 and 1.40 he’s struggled to justify those odds, losing three and winning only one in straight sets. The most recent was when Jack Sock heavily beat him in New York.
He showed those big match nerves again versus Nadal on Tuesday too when he went a set and a break down before finding his game and despite Cilic being a major winner I rarely get the sense that he truly believes in himself in the latter stages of majors.
Cilic certainly had Nadal’s mental lapse, followed by his injury, to thank for being able to turn it round and the Croat remains a tough player to bet on, with his level varying from unplayable to error-ridden in a short space of time.
Edmund looks fitter and with more belief than last year and he’s certainly a bigger threat to the top-10 than in the past, so now that he has a win over a top-five player under his belt I expect this to be a good challenge for Cilic.
Unless Edmund is feeling the effects of his tough tournament, it’s hard to see Cilic winning this in three (Or Edmund for that matter) so a couple of points on over 3.5 sets at 1.60 looks the bet here, with the 3-1 to Cilic at 3.85 also appealing.
2 points on over 3.5 sets in Cilic v Edmund (3-5, Unibet)