We’re nearing the business end of our three ATP 250 tournaments in week one of the 2015 ATP World Tour, with quarter and semi final places up for grabs in Chennai, Doha and Brisbane on Friday.
Yen Hsun Lu kept the perfect run of ‘sure things’ going on Thursday, with a straight sets win over Pablo Carreno-Busta, but a very good performance from Milos Raonic in Brisbane and a sand storm in Doha blew the rest of the day off course.
Dustin Brown struggled with the wind in Qatar and was no match for David Ferrer in testing conditions that even Novak Djokovic failed to deal with, as the Serb was beaten from a set up by Ivo Karlovic.
Friday is quarter finals day in Chennai and Brisbane, while Doha are at their last four stage, so there’s 10 matches in total to consider today.
Tomas Berdych vs Andreas Seppi
Friday’s ‘sure thing’ has to be for Berdych to beat Seppi in straight sets, with the Czech in excellent form at the moment and with a great record against the Italian.
Berdych has linked up with Andy Murray’s former coach Dani Vallverdu in the off season and the combination has brought its rewards straight away, with the Berdman impressing in Doha after a good showing in an exhibition event in Thailand.
The world number seven has won his last five in a row against Seppi in straight sets and with conditions in his favour and confidence high after another drubbing of Richard Gasquet on Thursday I can’t see Seppi being too competitive here.
Seppi was able to edge past Leo Mayer and came from behind in both sets against Ivan Dodig here in Doha this week, but this looks a step too far, with Berdych looking likely to win this one in two at around 1.47.
Ivo Karlovic vs David Ferrer
The Doha storms blew my bet away in Ferrer vs Brown on Thursday, but there seems to be another decent opportunity to go with the same bet again on Friday in the Spaniard’s 13:30 UK time clash with Karlovic.
The Croatian veteran will be delighted with his win over Djokovic and the 2.45 about the opening set going over 10.5 games looks generous all things considered.
Each of the four prior meetings between Karlovic and Ferrer have featured a tie break in the opening set, with three of the matches ending in a 7-6, 6-3 scoreline and the other finishing 7-6, 6-4.
Karlovic is enjoying conditions in Doha and the wind didn’t affect him at all on Thursday, so one feels that if Djokovic couldn’t create a single break point in three sets against Ivo it’s hard to see how Ferrer will do much better.
Bernard Tomic vs Kei Nishikori
I liked the chances of Nishikori winning the Brisbane tournament at the start and he can still do that, but this 03:00 UK time clash with Tomic could prove a tricky test for the US Open finalist.
Tomic seemingly only plays his bets tennis at home in Australia and he’s begun this season as he did a couple of years ago when he won the Sydney event and indeed he made the final there again in 2013.
The two matches that Bernie has played so far on the Gold Coast suggest that he’s in that sort of mood again and he can push Nishikori to three sets here in their second career meeting.
Kei began his Brisbane campaign in decent style when beating Steve Johnson in two sets, but this looks much tougher, with Johnson’s suspect backhand always likely to struggle against the excellent two hander of the Japanese.
There might well be some long, cagey rallies in this one and similarly to their 2012 Olympics clash on grass it looks set to be a tight affair, but Nishikori’s supreme three set record and top-five quality give him a slight advantage.
The 2-1 to Nishikori is priced at around 3.70 and that looks a decent choice in this Brisbane quarter final, with Milos Raonic likely to face the winner.
Sure thing: Back Berdych to beat Seppi 2-0 at 1.47
Value bet: Back over 10.5 games in set one of Karlovic/Ferrer at 2.45
Long shot: Back Nishikori to beat Tomic 2-1 at 3.70