It’s semi-final Saturday at the BNP Paribas Open, with the title contenders decided today at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are both still in the running, but they face tricky matches against John Isner and Alex Dolgopolov respectively on Saturday.
Isner was involved in Friday’s winning best bet when he and Ernests Gulbis went past the 100.5 minute mark in their quarter-final and hopefully I put off some of those that were thinking of backing Gulbis at a skinny pre-match price.
Play begins at 7pm UK time tonight with a certain Swiss looking to make another final here in the Californian desert.
Alexandr Dolgopolov 3.33 vs Roger Federer 1.30 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 19.05
Fed is on a winning streak that I must admit I did not see coming when he stank the place out – by his standards – for large parts of 2013, and he’s looking to make his fifth final here at Indian Wells.
Roger’s record for the season now reads 18-2 in all matches and he’s yet to drop a set here this year, so there are few question marks against his form at the moment.
One could possibly argue that it hasn’t been the toughest of passages through to the semi-final and today he faces an opponent who, like himself, has overcome a poor 2013 and is playing some wonderful tennis right now.
Dolgo, as I said the other day prior to the Milos Raonic match, has really found his form again since Rio on the Golden Swing and he’s playing with great confidence and perhaps more importantly he seems to be enjoying it again.
He nullified the huge serve of Raonic almost with ease at times and if he could get more of his own first serves in play I would have to give him half a chance tonight.
The low ball toss that Dolgo employs is ideal for combating the often gusty wind here at Indian Wells, but as a relatively short guy he perhaps needs to take more chances on that first ball to get the power.
He defeated Rafa Nadal here serving at just 41% on first serve and if he does manage to get around 60% or more of his first balls in today I wouldn’t count him out of this one at around 3.33.
All the stats are, as one would expect, in favour of Federer in terms of matches at this stage of major tournaments and this is The Dog’s first semi-final at Masters 1000 level, so there is always the chance of him freezing on the big stage.
They’ve only met once before in their careers and that was back in 2010 when Dolgo retired a game away from defeat, but it will be different match here and one that should be filled with plenty of amazing winners.
Federer is probably not an ideal opponent for Dolgo, as he will surely be able to handle the variety thrown at him by the Ukrainian, but it could be close and the over 22.5 total games appeals at 1.98 here.
Much will depend on Dolgo’s serve and if he does that well he has a shot here, but I feel this will be a tight win for the Swiss.
Back over 22.5 total games at 1.98