The quarter finals of the 2015 Miami Open begin on Wednesday at Crandon Park, with the first of the four men’s singles matches in-play today.
And it was a fine day of tennis betting on Tuesday, with my long shot of Novak Djokovic beating Alexandr Dolgopolov by two sets to one at 5.2 landing, as well as the 2-0 win to David Ferrer over Gilles Simon at 2.08.
My opening wager was void when Gael Monfils retired injured after falling heavily attempting one of those gravity-defying slides of his.
Unfortunately for Lamonf he was unable to defy the laws of physics on this occasion and he went down in an undignified heap before retiring a game later to void the over total games wager.
So, it was two nice winners from two on the day and tonight’s match between Tomas Berdych and Juan Monaco is my focus today.
Tomas Berdych vs Juan Monaco
This 02:00 UK time start at Crandon Park should lead to a win for the Czech, who has a perfect record against the Argentine on clay, hard and indoor hard of 7-0.
They haven’t met since the back end of 2012 when Berdych won a five setter on clay in Davis Cup, coming from 2-1 down to beat Pico in his own backyard and they have had some tussles down the years.
But Berdych is much improved since 2012, while Monaco is only now getting back some form and fitness after spending much of the last year or two suffering with injury problems.
Pico’s win over Fernando Verdasco owed a great deal to a typically errant showing from the Spaniard, who failed to repeat the form of his win over Rafa Nadal and really beat himself with unforced errors.
The man from Madrid even led *3-1 with a point for 4-1, but went on to lose the last five games and the match, despite a typically chokey attempt to serve it out from Monaco.
So, really what he have here is a win for Monaco by keeping the ball in play, which is what he’s good at, but it’s hard to see that being enough against the extra power and reliability of the Czech.
Generally speaking Berdych beats who he should beat, with a record of 74-19 as favourite in all competition in 2014 and 2015, with a 42-8 mark on outdoor hard courts.
He’s won 16 of his last 17 as favourite, with the exception being a loss as narrow favourite against Stan Wawrinka in Rotterdam and as a 1.1 to 1.3 favourite Berdych has won 21 of his last 22 matches.
The exception there was a first round loss to Pablo Andujar in Valencia, four days after a run to the semis in Stockholm, which in itself came a week after Shanghai, so there were likely fatigue-based reasons for that.
Looking at it the other way, Monaco has only been an underdog priced between 5.50 and 6.50 four times in his career and he’s 1-3 in those matches, with the win coming by way of retirement by Milos Raonic after seven games in Shanghai last year.
As underdog priced at 5.0 and above Pico is 4-28 (2-13 on outdoor hard) with two wins coming by way of retirement and the other two against Andy Murray back in 2009 and 2010.
I expect Berdych to be able to hit enough winners past Monaco to win this one reasonably comfortably and the under 90.5 total minutes at 1.87 looks the one here in conditions that Berdych knows well after spending a lot of time training here.
Value bet: Back under 90.5 total minutes at 1.87