The quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Masters take place in Bercy today, with the world’s top tennis stars in action.
That is a sentence I haven’t written for some time, as the latter stages of this event are usually contested by several lower ranked players and indeed this is the first time that Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic have made the quarter-finals here together.
The lowest ranked player in action today is Richard Gasquet at number 10, whereas last year we had number 121 - Michael Llodra and 69 - Jerzy Janowicz still in contention.
It was one winner from my two bets yesterday, with Nadal and Jerzy Janowicz going over the total games mark in set one of their encounter, while Philipp Kohlschreiber failed to take his opportunities yet again facing Roger Federer and handed both sets to the Swiss with errors.
This evening’s play at the Palais Omnisports begins at 6.30pm UK time and it’s a match that appears to hold a nice betting opportunity.
Rafael Nadal vs Richard Gasquet
On the face of it this should be a win for Nadal, who has dominated the head-to-head to the tune of 10-0, but here in Paris a more relaxed Gasquet should be free to take a swing at the world number one.
The Gasman qualified for the World Tour Finals yesterday when Milos Raonic won and Gasquet defeated Kei Nishikori, so with no ranking points to worry about and a place in London assured he has nothing to lose.
Gasquet was more competitive than had previously been the case in their semi-final clash in New York a few months ago and it should give him a bit of belief in what’s a poor match up for him.
The slow, high-bouncing nature of the court here at the Palais Omnisports will mean that Gasquet will have a tricky night on his backhand as usual against Rafa, but the Spaniard hasn’t been particularly impressive here thus far.
Gasquet may lose heart if he loses the opener, but I expect him to throw the kitchen sink at Nadal early on and the 3.65 about him winning set one looks the bet here.
David Ferrer vs Tomas Berdych
Ferrer is fighting tooth and nail to defend his 1000 ranking points from winning here last year and he was teak tough against Gilles Simon yesterday in a match that most expected to be a real grind.
Berdych meanwhile was similarly resilient in a hard fought opening set against Raonic on Thursday that the Czech eventually won 15-13 and set him up for another quarter-final in a Masters 1000 event.
This will be the 10th meeting between the pair of a series that Ferrer has had the better of historically, but they are yet to meet this season and the Spaniard hasn’t been at his best in the second-half of this campaign.
Ferrer has won three of their four matches played on indoor hard and this slow surface aids his defensive cause, but if Berdych can put the Spaniard under pressure by serving at his best, then he has a decent shot here.
The layers have this as not far off an even money match. It’s not one that massively appeals to me as a bet, but I would favour the over 22.5 games if I were getting involved in this one.
Back Gasquet to win set one vs Nadal at 3.65
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