The Shanghai Rolex Masters 2013 heads towards its conclusion on Saturday, with the semi-finals set to feature the top two players in the men’s game.
It was two winners from my two best bets on Friday when Novak Djokovic and Gael Monils went way past the total games mark and Rafa Nadal just about defeated Stan Wawrinka in straight sets.
Djokovic had a tough time against Monfils, who threatened by taking the opener before running out of gas and the Serb took over, while Rafa had to hold off set points against the Swiss before taking it on a tie break to crush Stan’s spirit.
Rafa’s win sees him through to face the dangerous Juan Martin Del Potro, who has been in fine form over the last fortnight. Now that he appears to have recovered from a fever, he’s in with a chance of making a Masters 1000 final for the second time this season.
The fast conditions in Shanghai give Delpo a real shot of at least making a match of this, which is indicated by Nadal’s price of around 1.30.
It will be their 13th meeting in all and eighth on hard courts, with Rafa leading 4-3 currently. Delpo’s two straight sets wins came on quick surfaces in New York and Montreal back in 2009.
They met in much slower conditions in the Indian Wells final this spring when Nadal won in three, but the form that the big Argentine has shown this week and Nada’s comparatively poor results at this stage of the season add up to a chance for the Tower of Tandil.
Rafa has only reached the final in Shanghai once, back in 2009 and with Delpo needing just one more win to be certain of a place at the year end championships it’s he who has the greater motivation. He has enough in his favour here to warrant at least a +1.5 set wager on the handicap at 1.83. I wouldn’t put anyone off the 3.35 about the outright win either, but I expect a close match and the value lies with Del Potro here.
I also rate the chances of the underdog Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first match on today against Djokovic, who was tested by Monfils. Tsonga’s greater power could well see him take the match into a third set or at least past the 21.5 total games mark.
Back Del Potro +1.5 sets to beat Nadal at 1.83
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