The third round of matches in the 2015 BNP Paribas Open begins on Monday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, with another beautiful day forecast in the California desert.
And it was another decent day of tennis betting on Sunday, with two of my three best bets winning thanks to Alexandr Dolgopolov and Malek Jaziri.
Dolgo produced another good performance to beat Santi Giraldo in straight sets, while Jaziri and Gilles Simon played out more or less exactly the match I had predicted, with those on Simon 2-1 profiting greatly and those on Jaziri +1.5 sets also enjoying a nice odds-against success.
Victor Hanescu had his chances in set one against Andreas Seppi, but was broken at 4-4 and the Romanian allowed Seppi to serve it out almost exclusively with second serves, which was disappointing.
It’s set to be another day in the mid-30s temperature-wise with low humidity as usual on Monday and we start the third round at 18:00 UK time.
A year ago there were five underdog winners in the 16 matches at this stage and one of those from 12 months ago, Fernando Verdasco, has a shot at repeating today.
Fernando Verdasco vs Kei Nishikori
Nishikori was dreadful again in his first match at Indian Wells, where he’s always struggled, and Verdasco, who took down Richard Gasquet as a 3.36 shot last year, can at least go close again.
Kei, for my money, is too small to cope with the high bounce here and he’ll be peppered with tough shots on his backhand from Nando’s lefty cross court forehand in this 20:00 UK time clash tonight.
Nishikori is yet to beat Verdasco in two tries and he looked really uncomfortable in a match he was rather fortunate to win against Ryan Harrison in round one.
Had Harrison not served really poorly he would have won the opener of that one, having broken Kei three times, and the Japanese’s timing looks awful in the conditions here.
Verdasco has had good results at this tournament and didn’t face a break point in his opening match and the Spaniard will be confident having won both priors over Nishikori.
I like the 3.10 about Verdasco winning the first set here, as I’m not overly confident about him seeing it out, and if Nishikori starts today like he did on Saturday that price on the Spaniard will look very big indeed.
John Isner vs Kevin Anderson
Novak Djokovic, who almost certainly awaits the winner of this one, looks the only ‘sure thing’ to me today, with Andy Murray, David Ferrer, and Nishikori all looking less than solid to me.
Ferrer is perhaps the best of the bunch, but I’m still not convinced about him here, and instead the over 22.5 total games in Isner and Anderson at 1.32 looks a better choice.
Isner has won the last five against Anderson and I favour him to win, but he’ll do well to prevail in fewer than 23 games, with Anderson also enjoying the high bouncing conditions at Indian Wells and a tight one is likely.
Juan Monaco vs Thanasi Kokkinakis
If the young Aussie has recovered sufficiently from his lengthy battle with Guillermo Garcia-Lopez he has a fine chance of taking down Monaco as underdog here.
Kokky, for my money, is perhaps a better prospect for long-term success at the top of the men’s game than the much-hyped Nick Kyrgios, whose body looks to me like it won’t last the course.
He has shown a willingness to battle and grind on several occasions and he did it again in tough clash with GGL, which will stand him in good stead for this 22:00 UK time start against Pico.
The layers look to have made too much of Monaco’s win over a seriously below par Marin Cilic in round one, with the US Open champion a shadow of the player we saw that fortnight (and haven’t spotted since).
His injury problems appear to be on-going and Monaco too is easing himself back in after a long spell with serious injury issues.
Indeed, the Argentine has played only 16 matches in the last year on hard courts, winning half of them, while Kokkinakis has chalked up 54, winning 70 percent of them.
Some were at Challenger level, but in 2015 he has a 14-5 record on hard courts and he seems to enjoy conditions here, which is half the battle at Indian Wells.
It might be tough, but 2.08 on Kokky is too good to turn down.
Sure thing: Back over 22.5 total games in Isner/Anderson at 1.32
Value bet: Back Kokkinakis to beat Monaco at 2.08
Long shot: Back Verdasco to win set one vs Nishikori at 3.10