IT was one win and one loss on Monday when Juan Martin Del Potro and Gilles Simon played out the expected tight encounter and went well past the 35.5 total games mark.
Mackenzie McDonald took Milos Raonic to four sets, but he started very nervously and broke himself in his first two service games of sets one and two, which cost us a chance at the +5.5 games handicap.
Those who took my set betting suggestions of 3-0 to Novak Djokovic and 3-1 to Kei Nishikori would also have enjoyed good priced winners on Monday.
It looks set to be a decent day for tennis on Wednesday, with a cloudy day in prospect of around 25C, with wind speeds of 15kph, so there shouldn’t be any problems with the weather.
The men’s quarter finals over the last five years have seen 25% of betting underdogs win, while 65% of the matches have featured tie breaks.
There were a couple of big priced winners in this round last year when Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic were both beaten, but those losses were due to injuries, so we’ve only had three real upsets (2-1 or bigger in price) this decade in the quarter finals.
Two involved Roger Federer, who lost to Tomas Berdych in 2010 and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2011 and the other was when Grigor Dimitrov took down Andy Murray in 2014.
Roger Federer vs Kevin Anderson
The head-to-head of 4-0 to Federer (8-0 in sets) looks like it may be the reason that Federer is as short as 1.07 for this match, which is a little bit of a disrespectful price as far as Anderson is concerned.
Anderson has started to play very well after a slow start to his grass season and I’d be surprised if this was another easy win for Federer, as the previous four meetings were.
All of those were at least three seasons ago and before Anderson’s self belief in majors and versus elite players rose, so I’m happy to side with Anderson in some way here.
The big South African’s aggressive, big serving, powerful game almost did for a peak Novak Djokovic here back in 2015, when he led 2-0 and the Serb edged it 7-5 in the fifth before going on to beat Federer in the final that year.
Since then he’s made the US Open final and is more used to the big stage, but his record against top-10 opponents leaves a lot to be desired (12-59 so far in his career), which is hardly inspiring.
The firmer, higher bouncing courts this year are seemingly aiding the taller, less agile players, with fewer low, skiddy bounces, and it’s also helping their big serves zip through.
Anderson has held serve 93.6% of the time in his last 10 matches on grass (Federer 94.8% of the time this year on grass) and given his form and the slight question mark over Fed’s form this grass swing I’m interested in the over 34.5 games here.
Federer’s route here has been comfortable and the only real times he’s faced an opponent that’s some sort of a threat it’s been tight for him, with a loss to Borna Coric, a match point saved win over Benoit Paire and another very close one against Nick Kyrgios.
The likes of Lajovic, Mannarino and Struff never had any sort of belief that they could come close to beating Fed, but Anderson should, and we’ll see how Federer deals with it.
Novak Djokovic vs Kei Nishikori
I’m not feeling an upset here, with this match-up proving a very tough one for Nishikori over the years and once again he’s heading into a big match under an injury cloud.
This time it’s the right elbow that’s the issue for Nishikori after he had treatment on it during his round of 16 win over Ernests Gulbis, but even assuming that he’s fine physically he still looks a long shot to win this.
The Japanese star has lost his last 12 in a row to the Serb since beating Djokovic at the 2014 US Open and while they’ve never met on grass it’s the lack of raw power in Kei’s game that puts him on the back foot against Djokovic.
Novak gets far too many of Kei’s serves back in play, leading to very few free points on serve for the Japanese and a requirement therefore to beat Djokovic pretty much solely from the back of the court.
Not many players can do that and Nishikori has only held serve 62.9% of the time against Djokovic as a result of not having a big enough serve to keep the excellent returning Serb at bay.
An interesting bet here is ‘no tie breaks’ at 2.60, considering that Nishikori struggles to hold serve and only four of the 39 sets they’ve contested in their career series have been tie breaks.
Djokovic isn’t quite the force of old, but neither is Nishikori, and I can’t see an end to the Djokovic dominance of this match-up on Wednesday.
Milos Raonic vs John Isner
The harder, higher bouncing surface has really helped these two this fortnight and especially Isner, who had always struggled at Wimbledon up until now, so he’ll be hoping that this hot spell continues.
There aren’t many subtleties in this match-up, with breaks of serve at a major premium, and it’ll shock nobody to learn that seven of the nine sets they’ve contested have gone to tie breaks.
It’s just 2.04 that this match features three tie breaks or more and it’s tough to see much in the way of value in the side markets here, with tie breaks and a long match seemingly inevitable.
If I were having a bet in this one the 2.23 on Isner would probably be my pick, with the American for me having played the better of the two so far, but it’ll come down to the odd point here and there.
Juan Martin Del Potro vs Rafael Nadal
This is a tricky one to bet on, with Delpo quite possibly having a problem with his left wrist if the evidence of the Gilles Simon match is anything to go by.
Delpo was seen stretching his left wrist out on a few occasions in that match and his reluctance to hit the two-hander against Simon suggests that he’s likely to be feeling some pain in that wrist.
A slice only approach against the best lefty forehand in the world looks doomed to failure, so Delpo fans and backers will be hoping it was just a twinge in the Simon match.
If he was preoccupied with that wrist it may explain his very patchy showing against Simon, but credit must go to the Frenchman as well for leaping on Delpo’s slice only approach on the backhand and using it to his advantage.
As for Nadal, well, he hasn’t been tested at all by four opponents lacking the power (or in Jiri Vesely’s case the movement) to really trouble the Spaniard for long, so Rafa, like Federer is yet to be made to move through the gears.
We’ve seen in the 10 career matches between Nadal and Del Potro on hard courts (5-5) that on occasion in the right conditions when Delpo is fit he can bludgeon his way past Nadal, but that has happened now since 2013.
Delpo certainly didn’t look anywhere near that sort of form against Simon and after he lost confidence in his forehand he was a bit fortunate not to be taken to a fifth set.
As tempting as it is to take Nadal on at this sort of price on grass against an opponent with power and quality I’m not getting the feeling that Delpo’s in the right shape to cause the upset.
It’s a trappy one to bet on for me, with Nadal too short to back in these conditions, but the likely winner. It could be worth taking a chance on the 3-0 to him, which is very possible if Delpo’s wrist isn’t right.