The semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Masters take place today in Bercy, with the world’s top stars involved for a change.
Never has a last four line-up here at the Palais Omnisports included Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Defending champion and world number three David Ferrer is also involved.
Tournament director Guy Forget must be delighted and pleasantly surprised at the semi-finalists, but it’s not great news for value seeking punters.
Friday was a day where I chose what turned out to be the wrong bet of the two, with the overs coming in comfortably in Ferrer vs Tomas Berdych, while Richard Gasquet, despite breaking Rafa Nadal early, was unable to take set one of their clash.
David Ferrer vs Rafael Nadal
This is exactly the sort of match us punters didn’t really want in this tournament (or any other come to that), with Ferrer standing very little chance against nemesis Rafa and leaving people to contend with a 1.1 shot to consider.
Strangely, this is the first time in their 25 match career rivalry that the pair will have faced each other on indoor hard. They did once play on carpet back in 2007, but on this surface their 25th meeting will at least be a first.
Ferrer has not beaten Nadal since he took advantage of an injured Rafa in Melbourne back in 2011. Nadal has won all nine meetings since, although they have all come on clay.
Ferrer’s chances do increase a little on this surface, as opposed to clay, and he is determined to defend as many points as possible from last year’s triumph here, but Nadal has looked surprisingly good in Bercy, which is a little unusual for him at this stage of the season.
His motivation appears to be the end of season number one ranking, so it should be a keenly contested affair, at least in terms of effort put in by the pair, which can’t always be said about this week of the campaign.
Rafa will almost certainly win this match with conditions in Bercy nice and slow and high bouncing, which is how he likes it, but for punters the main betting interest lies in the opening set markets.
Ferrer needs to start fast and indoors he has more of a shot than on the clay. I think it’s entirely possible that he can take the opening set with a start of 2.5 games at 1.73.
On hard previously in their career series, a 2.5 game start would have seen Ferrer win the opener in all five of their completed matches at tour level and both of the exhibitions. So with precious points to defend he has it in him to keep it competitive in the early stages.
Prior to that we have Roger Federer taking on Novak Djokovic for the 30th time and again there isn’t huge value in the match odds there, with Novak the shortest he’s ever been against the Swiss at 1.3.
The over 9.5 games in set one at 1.65 looks a better bet than the 1.3 about Novak, with Federer surely likely to come out of the blocks quickly to have any chance against the world number two.
Back Ferrer + 2.5 games to win set one at 1.73
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