The semi-finals of this week’s ATP Tour events in Rotterdam, Buenos Aires and Memphis are scheduled for Saturday, as the action heats up on week seven of the tour.
Friday’s opening best bet was a winning one, as Tomas Berdych recovered from an error-ridden first set tie-break to get the better of Jerzy Janowicz and cover the handicap at the same time.
My second wager was also a winner on a good betting day, as Marin Cilic took down number two seed Andy Murray in straight sets to land a gamble that saw the Croat’s price drop considerably before the off.
With both the number one and number two seeds out of the tournament the semi-finals begin at 13.05 UK time with the number three seed Berdych.
Ernests Gulbis 2.70 vs Tomas Berdych 1.43 - BET and STREAM on Unibet TV from 13.05
A fine performance from Gulbis saw him upset the defending champion Juan Martin Del Potro on Friday in a match that he perhaps won’t get much credit for winning due to Delpo’s ongoing wrist injury.
It was a very good showing from the unpredictable Latvian though, and Berdych will be tested to the full if Ernie brings that sort of form to the court on Saturday.
It will be the pair’s sixth meeting of a career series that Berdych currently leads 3-2 and it was the Czech who came out on top in their most recent clash, which was indoors in Marseille a year ago.
It was a tough battle though and the way that both men have been serving this week leads me to fancy the overs here, with the over 23.5 games at 1.98 looking the call.
Igor Sijsling 3.05 vs Marin Cilic 1.36 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 18.35
The evening match at the Ahoy Stadium sees two in-form players face off at 18.35 UK time, with Zagreb champion Cilic looking to reach his second straight final.
Marin’s improved serve helped him along where it previously didn’t against Murray last night, and if he continues to show the same form that he has in his last three or four matches he’ll be a tough nut for the Dutch wildcard to crack.
This will be their third career meeting, with the first two going the way of Cilic in deciding sets, but their last clash, which was in similarly slow indoor conditions in Bercy at the end of last season was Marin’s first after coming back from 16 weeks off the tour.
He still managed to win that one and his great record in semi-finals, whereby he’s won 18 of his last 21, and his current confident frame of mind suggests that he is very likely to make another final.
Sijsling had a medical timeout for a shoulder problem in his three set win over Philipp Kohlschreiber last night and this run, which is the best of his career so far, looks set to end here.
Igor made the semi-finals of the Power Horse Cup on clay last year and lost to Jarkko Nieminen, but this is an ATP 500 at home, which makes today the biggest match of his career.
If Sijsling serves at his best he could take a set, but much will depend on his shoulder issue and I expect Marin to outplay him in many of the rallies.
The Cilic minus 3.5 games at 2.0 or the Cilic 2-0 at 1.92 look decent options here.
Over in Memphis tonight 35-year-old Michael Russell plays just his third tour level semi-final and again will surely be denied that final spot by Kei Nishikori, while fellow veteran Ivo Karlovic may also be stopped in his tracks by Yen Hsun Lu.
On the clay in Buenos Aires David Ferrer faces Nico Almagro, who the former has beaten 14 times from 14 matches and Nico has been struggling this week, with the doctor making an on-court appearance for him in his match with Daniel Gimeno-Traver.
The opening semi-final of the Copa Claro could well be a great match, with Fabio Fognini facing Tommy Robredo, and the Spaniard has a clear fitness advantage in this one having played far less tennis over the past few weeks and benefitted from the retirement of Robin Haase yesterday. If Fabio is fit this could be entertaining, but Tommy looks the sensible choice here at 2.10.
Back over 23.5 games in Berdych/Gulbis at 1.98
Back Cilic to beat Sijsling 2-0 at 1.92