The last eight men standing contest the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Rolex Masters on Friday, with plenty to play for in the penultimate Masters 1000 event of the season.
Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal are both in action on another tricky-looking day of ATP betting.
Djokovic was too good for Fabio Fognini to get much of a chance against him on Thursday, while the predicted tight match between Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic just went the way of the Swiss, but frustratingly short of a high overs mark. It’s been that kind of a week in Shanghai so far.
Novak Djokovic vs Gael Monfils
Djokovic is back in action at around 11am UK time on Friday and he won’t be facing Roger Federer, who, as I said the other day, is no longer capable of justifying short odds. The Swiss was beaten in three by Monfils, who should really have done it in two, but choked.
The chances of Lamonf pulling off another upset here are slim and it will come as a surprise to absolutely nobody that the Frenchman appeared to be struggling with injury towards the end of that match.
He’ll need to be in tip top condition today if he’s going to make any impression upon Djokovic, who he faces for the ninth time in tour level matches as a professional and is yet to taste success against the Serb. He did beat Nole in juniors back in 2004, but that’s been as good as it’s got for Gael, although he has taken sets here and there.
Djokovic will almost certainly win this one, but it’s hard to find the best wager due to Monfils’s likely fatigue and general physical state, which tends to have a significant effect on most of his matches.
In pure tennis terms he should have few problems taking this match over 18.5 total games if he serves well and that looks the safest wager here at 1.50.
Rafael Nadal vs Stanislas Wawrinka
This is another match-up that has consistently been fruitless for the underdog. When they step out on court at around 1pm UK time on Friday it will be the 11th time that Stan has tried to beat Nadal and up to now he’s drawn a blank and not won a single one of the 22 sets that they’ve contested.
Rafa has a great record against single-handers and it’s hard to make a case for Wawrinka winning this, so clear is it that the match-up is a poor one for the Swiss. That said, Nadal is nowhere near his best at this time of the season and the iron will that we see from him, tends to lose it’s ferocity at this time of year, which could give Stan a shot at taking a set.
Carlos Berlocq should have taken the second set of their last-16 match on Thursday when he was up 5-2 in the tie break, but wasn’t tough enough mentally and one would like to think that Wawrinka would do better given such an opportunity.
The first set market may be the way to go here, as surely Stan’s head will drop if he loses a 23rd straight set to his nemesis. The +2.5 game handicap on Wawrinka at 2.70 is worthy of consideration if you think Stan can finally be competitive today. But it’s hard to recommend anything other than the minus 1.5 sets on Nadal here at around 1.58.
Back over 18.5 total games in Djokovic/Monfils at 1.50
Back Nadal –1.5 sets to beat Wawrinka at 1.58
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