We’ve reached the quarter-final stages of our two ATP 500 tournaments in week 43 of the 2014 ATP World Tour and there’s still plenty to play for on Friday.
My opening bet of Thursday was void when Roberto Bautista-Agut withdrew from the tournament with an abdominal problem.
That meant that my bet on Thomaz Bellucci didn’t take place, but it was still a profitable day, as the my second wager, which was the overs in Milos Raonic vs Donald Young, was a comfortable winner.
Indeed, it went all the way to a final set tie break, with the only break of the match coming in the very first game of an encounter that I had expected Young to be competitive in.
Friday’s quarter-finals are interesting for a number of reasons, with precious ranking points up for grabs in the race to London, but the one to watch doesn’t involve that scenario.
Rafael Nadal vs Borna Coric
This match in Basel could well end up being one of those ‘I was there’ moments in years to come, as one of the all-time greats takes on a 17-year-old Croatian who may end up with a major or two of his own one day.
We had a nice winner with Coric over Ernests Gulbis the other day, but handling an injured Ernie and the wicked top spin that Nadal imparts upon his shots is another entirely.
The Spaniard has an 83 percent winning mark against under 21s and he’ll surely win this even with appendicitis and Coric really needs to make more first serve than he’s been doing this week.
Coric hasn’t broken 50 percent yet this week and that will spell trouble if repeated today. If he can get that up to around 60 percent or higher the first set could quite conceivably go past 9.5 games at 2.00, but it should be well worth a watch.
Pablo Andujar vs Tommy Robredo
But perhaps a more tempting wager can be found in the evening match over in Valencia at around 19:00 UK time between two Spaniards.
Robredo looks much too short for my liking in this one against an opponent he’s never beaten and at this stage of the season I can’t be taking a price like 1.37 on Tommy.
Andujar has been in very good form this week so far, with the slow surface here in Valencia suiting his game and Robredo will surely find it tough to punch holes in his opponent’s game in these conditions.
The underdog will be confident against the favourite here, having disposed of Robredo on the clay of Rio earlier in the year and prior to that also in Brazil in 2011 and he was a significant underdog in both of those matches too.
Very much a confidence player, Andujar is known for his streaky runs – both winning and losing – and the 1.78 about him winning a set or the 3.00 about the match are both decent options in this one.
Elsewhere in Valencia Jeremy Chardy looks too short against Pablo Carreno Busta, while Thomaz Bellucci would have to have a superb day to get past David Ferrer in the form the Spaniard was in yesterday.
Andy Murray may have more trouble with Kevin Anderson if the big man can serve as well as he did against Philipp Kohlschreiber, but he’d surely like it quicker and I’m not sure I see an upset there.
Back in Basel David Goffin has a great chance against Raonic on the lack of form that the Canadian has shown this week so far, but I’m not convinced about the Belgian against servers like Raonic and if anything Goffin looks a tad short in price to me.
Roger Federer vs Grigor Dimitrov
The Swiss looks mighty short here at 1.26 against an opponent who seemed to be struggling physically in his opening match, but then appeared to be perfectly fine in his second here this week.
Assuming that Dimitov is okay then Federer’s price seems wrong in what will be only their second career meeting after their first came here in Basel at this stage of the tournament a year ago.
I recall that match being a struggle for Dimitrov in terms of the occasion getting to him and he took only one of his 10 break point chances, which combined with his questionable fitness allowed Fed to ease through.
A year on and the Bulgarian’s fitness has been better this season and he’s a bigger price now than he was 12 months ago, which in part is down to Fed’s poor season last year.
Dimitrov can certainly make this close and Federer was far from great against Denis Istomin yesterday and either the +1.5 sets or +3.5 games on Dimitrov look good here.
Back Andujar +1.5 sets to beat Robredo at 1.78
Back Dimitrov +3.5 games to beat Federer at 1.95