The remaining places in the semi finals of the 2016 Miami Open are up for grabs on Thursday, featuring a big-serving contest between Milos Raonic and Nick Kyrgios.
It was hardly a big-serving clash between David Goffin and Gilles Simon on Wednesday, but Goffin did actually serve pretty well once he got going in that one, and the pair of them combined to land my over 2.5 sets ‘value bet’.
So, it’s Raonic and Kyrgios in the late match on Thursday at around midnight UK time when it will be 28C and 71% humidity, so conditions will still be tough for the pair at that time.
Milos Raonic vs Nick Kyrgios
The fourth career meeting between Kyrgios and Raonic looks a tight one and I think there might be a little bit of value in the combustible Aussie here.
Kyrgios was at it again versus Andrey Kuznetsov in round four when he walloped a ball away in anger and after receiving a warning he yet again got involved in a spat with the umpire.
All in a day’s work for NK of course and a la John McEnroe many years ago he seems to enjoy it and play better much of the time after he vents his spleen at whoever is nearest at the time (usually the umpire).
One day soon he’ll get defaulted, as he should have done in Estoril last year, and his peculiar behaviour doesn’t really help us punters trying to figure out the young Aussies next move.
Assuming he doesn’t get defaulted against Raonic I’d give him a decent shot and in a contest where both men are likely to have their periods of dominance I’d expect a three setter here.
The tactics should be pretty straightforward: big serve followed by heavy forehand and point over, and there shouldn’t be too many long rallies, though if there is I’d favour Kyrgios’ extra ability off both wings.
Raonic is yet to be tested too much in Miami this year and had a bit of a gimme in the last round against Damir Dzumhur, but we should see how fit he is today – and the answer may well be that he isn’t in peak condition after that Indian Wells injury.
I’m also far from convinced about the big Canadian in very hot and humid conditions and Kyrgios may strip the fitter if this contest does go to three sets.
The humidity and slow surface isn’t as helpful to the Raonic serve as was the case at Indian Wells and all told I think the Canadian is a tad short in the betting for this one after a physically demanding fortnight.
Kyrgios won the only meeting between the pair last season, which was on the grass of Wimbledon and I like the 2-1 win to the Aussie here at a tempting price of around 4.90.
I also like the over 5.5 double faults, with both men likely to go for their second serve to avoid the other teeing off on it and in two sets matches for the pair of them in round four they hit seven between them.
Raonic hit three in only eight service games against Dzumhur in a 6-0, 6-3 romp, so it seems likely that he could hit more than 5.5 on his own if this is as tight a contest as it seems likely to be.
Value bet: Back over 5.5 double faults at 1.60
Long shot: Back Kyrgios to beat Raonic 2-1 at 4.90