The semi-finals of the 2014 Western & Southern Open are all set for Saturday, with two intriguing matches in prospect in Cincy today.
It’s forecast to be a hot and humid day in Mason, Ohio today, so it could be tough for the players as they attempt to make the championship match of this Masters 1000 event.
David Ferrer will be there after landing my best bet of the day on Friday in beating Tommy Robredo in a tough three setter thanks to the help of a dead net cord at the vital time.
And those who took either of my suggestions in the Milos Raonic/Fabio Fognini match would have had their feet up and cigars out early on, as the Canadian lost just one game against the hapless Italian.
We start at 8pm UK time in the first semi final and this unlikely pair will perhaps have the best of the conditions, as it’s set to get more humid as the day goes on.
David Ferrer vs Julien Benneteau
Benny is fast becoming the new Denis Istomin for my bets, with the Frenchman showing all of his unpredictable qualities by making a Masters 1000 semi final for the first time at the age of 32.
Having failed to cover a small handicap against the hapless Blaz Rola and survived match points in the first round Benny went on to beat Jerzy Janowicz and then was the beneficiary of a truly bizarre collapse by Stan Wawrinka.
The Swiss was in total control of their quarter final before losing all concentration and gifting the match to Benneteau with an unstoppable barrage of unforced errors.
By then end Wawrinka had long since given up and all Benny had to do was keep the ball in the court to land a comfortable win over a slumping Wawrinka, whose US Open chances look somewhere between slim and none right now.
Ferrer also survived match points in his opening round, which was against Philipp Kohlschreiber, who really should have put Ferrer away, but the Spaniard is nothing if not determined and he’s battled his way to the last four despite being below his best.
Benneteau has the game to trouble Ferrer, but I strongly suspect not the temperament, as his record in big matches shows.
He has beaten Ferrer on four occasions, but barring the 2004 French Open, all of the big matches have gone the way of Ferrer in their career series.
The Spaniard just about got the better of Robredo last night and he’ll be sensing a shot at a second Masters 1000 title here and no doubt hoping that Milos Raonic can see off nemesis Roger Federer later on.
It’s hard to see Benny having the bottle for this if he does get ahead – his final set record isn’t the best – and the Ferrer 2-1 win appeals here at a tempting 3.95.
The unpredictability of Benneteau edges me towards taking on a bigger priced bet, as the handicaps look trappy, and in what is pretty much the biggest match of his career he should be able to take a set against a below par Ferrer.
Back Ferrer to beat Benneteau 2-1 at 3.95