Incredibly, another quite remarkable choke cost me my ATP for the second straight day at the 2013 BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday.
If anything Nico Almagro’s last night was worse than Benoit Paire’s the day before, in as much as the Spaniard had the match on his racquet and missed a sitter at match point.
Having broken for *5-4 in the decider, Almagro failed to put a single first serve in play but somehow still found himself at match point and with opponent Tommy Haas playing an awful drop shot, Almagro raced to the net to put the match away with three quarters of the court to aim for. But the Spaniard hit it straight back to a grateful Haas who couldn’t believe his luck and duly won the point and took the match in a breaker.
Elsewhere there was another, arguably worse, choke from Grigor Dimitrov, who served four double faults when serving for the opening set against Novak Djokovic. The Bulgarian has always been a bit of a choker, but that was quite remarkable and he won only two more games in the match after that.
It’s fourth round day at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Wednesday and there are some potentially very interesting match ups today, including Rafa Nadal versus Ernests Gulbis and Roger Federer taking on Swiss number two Stan Wawrinka.
There are too many variables for me to become involved in the Gulbis match, but it will certainly be fun to watch and if Wawrinka can overcome his adoration of Federer he has a decent shot of covering the handicap at least with Fed struggling with a back problem.
But I suspect it will be a better option to back a double today involving Tomas Berdych and Kevin Anderson that pays around 2.10.
Both players have the power to hit through these stodgy Indian Wells courts and both take on Frenchman today who can be too negative for their own good.
Anderson faces Gilles Simon for the first time today and Simon is pretty fortunate to have even made it this far after facing match points against Paulo Lorenzi and receiving another choke from Benoit Paire.
The big South African will win this if he continues the form that he’s shown so far and despite me backing Simon outright pre-tournament at a huge price, I don’t fancy his chances today on what I’ve seen from him this week.
Berdych has the tougher task, having lost two of his last three to Richard Gasquet and it’s been a peculiar match-up over the years. Neither player has been past the last eight here at Indian Wells, but Berdych’s confidence will be high at the moment after beating Federer again in Dubai and I favour him to rise to the occasion today with a good opportunity beckoning in this part of the draw.
Best Bet: Back Berdych and Anderson in a double at 2.10