David Ferrer’s slow start against Jurgen Melzer cost me my ATP bet on Wednesday at the 2013 Sony Open.
The Spaniard dismissed the Austrian once he had found his range, but losing the first set from 2-0 ahead was enough to spoil my unders wager in that one.
Thursday at Crandon Park sees Richard Gasquet and Tomas Berdych lock horns for the eighth time at tour level, with the Frenchman leading the career series 4-3 currently.
The pair met just two weeks ago at Indian Wells when Berdych was a fairly comfortable winner after an awful start from Gasquet saw him lose the opening set 6-1. The second set in that encounter was much closer, with Berdych edging it 7-5.
Gasquet was guilty again of being too defensive on that day and after adopting a more attacking approach against Mikhail Youznhy here in Miami this week, he went back to the old tactic of playing from miles behind the baseline in his narrow win over Nico Almagro on Tuesday.
Berdych has been patchy at Crandon Park, with two real struggles against Daniel Gimeno-Traver and Alejandro Falla preceding a thrashing of the hapless Sam Querrey in round three.
My main concern with Berdych as a 1.38 favourite in this match is fatigue, as the Czech has played 17 matches in a shade over a month, while Gasquet has played eight in the same period.
The Berdman has shown some bottle this week in coming from a set down to both Gimeno-Traver and Falla and he won’t want to miss the opportunity of a possible Masters 1000 crown, with Novak Djokovic now out of the picture.
Surely this one won’t be anywhere near as simple as the destruction of Querrey. Gasquet showed admirable fight himself when losing a first set he should have won against Almagro, coming back to win in three tight sets.
I suspect that Berdych will win this one, but I doubt it will be as comfortable as the Indian Wells victory and I’m siding with the Gasman with a 1.5 set start at 1.68.
Best Bet: Back Gasquet +1.5 sets to beat Berdych at 1.68
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