Round three of the 2015 Coupe Rogers is set for Thursday at the Uniprix Stadium in Montreal, with plenty of big names scheduled for today.
Although there aren’t quite as many top stars as the tournament were hoping for left in the event after a bad night for favourite backers in Montreal on Wednesday.
My ‘sure thing’ wager was ruined by Tomas Berdych, who led Donald Young 5-2 in the first set of their round two match, but ended up losing in straight sets.
And he wasn’t the only one as Gael Monfils, Marin Cilic, Stan Wawrinka and Gilles Simon all fell as short-priced jollies.
Wawrinka’s loss to Nick Kyrgios was good news for followers of my headline pick of the day though, as the controversial Aussie’s runaway mouth got the better of him yet again a few unsavoury incidents that the ATP will do well to review.
NK got the win at 2.85 for us though thanks to a late retirement from the Swiss and that one saved our day after Berdych lost and Leo Mayer choked away a set and 3-0 lead over Jeremy Chardy.
The third round in Montreal in 2013 when the Rogers Cup was last held here saw four underdogs prevail in the eight matches, with two priced at over 5.50.
Ernests Gulbis defeated Andy Murray, while Vasek Pospisil took down Tomas Berdych and Marinko Matosevic was a 3.0 shot who beat Benoit Paire, while Milos Raonic at 2.83 was the other successful underdog (over Juan Martin Del Potro).
Bernard Tomic vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
The big Frenchman is my only remaining outright bet after Milos Raonic was beaten, but I’m not sure I fancy him at all today at a price of 1.57 against an in-form Tomic.
It must be a welcome relief for Bernie not to be the most controversial and disliked male tennis player from Australia at the moment and he should be basking in the freedom away from the spotlight thanks to Kyrgios’ antics.
Indeed, he’s been going about his business quietly and impressively this week, with a 2-0 win over Marin Cilic last night adding to an equally efficient display over Joao Sousa in round one.
That form, if he repeats it tonight, should be enough to beat Tsonga, who struggled badly against Roberto Bautista-Agut and took two-and-a-half hours for Jo to finally defeat RBA.
Tsonga had his serve to thank for edging past Bautista-Agut and he’ll need to be very good in that department if he’s to beat Tomic in their third career meeting.
The Aussie was really close to winning their most recent encounter on quick indoor hard in Tsonga’s backyard in Marseille at the start of 2013 and with Tomic serving very well himself right now Tsonga might have to rely on a tie break or two if he’s to win.
Cilic created only two break points against Tomic, while Tsonga was broken three times by RBA, and Cilic was playing some decent tennis in Washington DC last week.
The Croat banged down 12 aces in nine service games, so he was serving well, and Tomic still beat him in two sets, which suggests he’s dialled in on return and the Aussie can draw Tsonga into long rallies where he’s more vulnerable with his variety.
Jo looks short to me here and for the second day in a row I make an Aussie the ‘value bet’, with the Frenchman having lost three of his last four matches as a 1.50 to 1.60 favourite at main level.
David Goffin vs Kei Nishikori
Regular readers will be aware that I’m not a fan of betting in matches involving the impossible to fathom Goffin, but as a 3.65 underdog today he holds appeal as a ‘long shot’.
The Belgian and Nishikori are quite similar in style and usually the Japanese is that little bit better, but their last clash was very close indeed and with Nishikori having played a lot of tennis in tough conditions last week his suspect fitness could be tested today.
Goffin has been playing well so far in Montreal, with comfortable wins over big servers Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey, and although this is a different sort of test it’s one that he might be capable of rising to.
You never quite know with Goffin and his record against the top players is poor, but on his day he can match the hitting of Nishikori and with the latter likely to hit the wall physically at some point soon a small wager on Goffin is reasonable today.
Mikhail Youzhny to win at 6.50 against Rafa Nadal would have seemed virtually impossible a week ago, but The Colonel has found some form from somewhere and isn’t totally out of it against the Spaniard.
Youzhny has endured such a wretched year that it seemed likely he was sliding towards retirement, but perhaps he has something to offer still and it would be wonderful if he could beat Nadal today, although I highly doubt it.
Novak Djokovic vs Jack Sock
It’s been a tricky week for favourite backers and the only one who looks really secure as a short-priced pick today is Djokovic, who should be far too classy for Sock.
In a week of upsets it’s worth recalling that Djokovic was thrashed by Tsonga in this tournament in Toronto a year ago, but I can’t see lightning striking twice to the Serb here.
Sock’s iffy backhand will surely be exposed time and again by Djokovic and to stand any chance the American will need to serve insanely well and hope for an off day from the world number one.
Sock has been edging through his matches and saved a match point against Grigor Dimitrov last night after recovering from 1-4* down against Adrian Mannarino in a final set tie break in round one.
He’s 1-9 against the top-10 and is likely to be fatigued after four-and-a-half hours on court already this week, while Novak should be in tip top shape after only two sets since Wimbledon.
The last time that Djokovic lost to a player outside the top-30 on an outdoor hard court was in March 2010 to Olivier Rochus and he’s won 14 of 16 against such opponents in straight sets this season.
The Serb is 113-3 as a 1.01 to 1.10 shot on outdoor hard from 2010 to now, with Rochus, Tommy Haas and Ivo Karlovic the ones to buck the trend.
The 1.23 about Djokovic 2-0 here looks the most secure of the short-prices to me today.
Sure thing: Back Djokovic to beat Sock 2-0 at 1.23
Value bet: Back Tomic to beat Tsonga at 2.35
Long shot: Back Goffin to beat Nishikori at 3.65