The semi-finals of the 2014 Internazionali BNL d’Italia are all set for Saturday at the Foro Italico, featuring the top two ranked players in men’s tennis.
And it was another fine day of ATP betting on Friday, as both Jeremy Chardy and David Ferrer won the second sets of their quarter-finals to ensure that both of my set handicap bets were successful on the day.
Both were beaten in the end, but they did enough and we seem to be heading inexorably towards yet another Rafa Nadal versus Novak Djokovic Masters 1000 final.
Play starts at 13.00 UK time on Saturday, with the world number two looking to secure his spot in the Rome final.
Milos Raonic 5.60 vs Novak Djokovic 1.14 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 13.05
This second meeting between the Canadian and the Serb should be relatively trouble-free for Novak after a battling performance in defeating a much tougher opponent in Ferrer yesterday.
A classic clay court battle between two talented shot-makers gripped the Foro Italico for just over two-and-a-half hours and I dare say that today’s encounter will be much less an appealing spectacle.
Milos seems to be of the opinion that he’s improving on the clay and I suppose given that he had never won a match here before this week he’s right, but he’s still all serve and not a lot else.
I cannot see him breaking the Djokovic serve at all today unless he gets a donation from Novak and that isn’t overly likely to happen.
Raonic won just 29% of his second serve points (9 of 31) in their only meeting on clay in Davis Cup at the end of last season and although it may take a little time for Nole to get a steady read on that serve of Milos’s he certainly will do in the end.
The Canadian may think he’s improved, but he’s faced some pretty kindly opponents this week in the form of Simone Bolelli, who’s been injured for a long time, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who’s been very poor all season, and Chardy, who he’d beaten four times from four and now five from five.
It’s been a very kind run and his record against top-five ranked opposition currently reads 2-13, with both of his wins coming over Andy Murray.
His only realistic hope is the first set tie break and the 2.40 about Milos +1.5 games might be worth considering in set one, as it may take Novak a while to break.
The over 9.5 games is set one looks the most reliable bet though, with the last time that Raonic lost a set in fewer than 10 games being to Alexandr Dolgopolov at Indian Wells a few months and 14 matches ago.
That one is a 1.64 shot and seems like a touch of value on the stats, as it’s only happened twice this season – the other being against Grigor Dimitrov in Melbourne.
With the Canadian’s lack of breaking ability he’s hardly likely to win the opener 6-3 or quicker himself, so it’s hard to see that bet not winning – which in itself worries me.
Back over 9.5 games in set one at 1.64