The second round of the 2014 Mutua Madrid Open completes on Wednesday, with the remaining 11 matches in play today.
Dominic Thiem recovered from a very slow start to stun Stan Wawrinka in three sets and bring home the overs for this column on Tuesday night, after another great performance from Kei Nishikori had foiled my prior wager on the overs against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
Rafa Nadal begins the defence of his Madrid title today against his good friend Juan Monaco, who usually provides only token resistance to his mate on clay.
I am slightly tempted with the +6.5 games on Pico, but better opportunities to oppose Nadal will surely come later in the tournament.
Jarkko Nieminen 1.84 Igor Sijsling 1.92
This 12.30 UK time clash between familiar foes Nieminen and Sijlsing looks to be the day’s best pick for the over total games.
Neither player has any kind of consistency and both are likely to choke a lead, as the nature of their career series shows.
Three of their five encounters have been three set affairs and the one on slower clay in Dusseldorf was a real grind, but while the faster conditions will probably lead to quicker points, I’d be surprised if either of these two won in straight sets.
Sijsling took three to beat an injured Tommy Haas yesterday, while Jarkko played his best match in a while to get past Robin Haase, who usually performs better than he did at altitude.
If the Finn serves as well today as against Haase and the Dutchman also delivers from the service line it looks to me like a tight, cagey affair, with over 22.5 games at 1.88 looking the call.
Marinko Matosevic 3.40 John Isner 1.30
Another one for the overs here, with Isner’s serve being very tough to deal with in these conditions and the Aussie serving well and playing surprisingly well on the clay at the moment.
I said the other day that I didn’t like Philipp Kohlschreiber at 1.20 against Matosevic and that proved to be correct, as Marinko thrashed the German for the loss of just four games.
Much of that can be put down to Kohlschreiber being physically out of sorts again, but credit must also go to Matosevic, who also took down Joao Sousa on the clay easily in Barcelona and is finding his feet on the red stuff.
Isner probably will win this one, but 1.23 is no sort of price, and the lucky loser can take a swing here in his first career meeting with Isner.
Marinko has beaten the likes of Milos Raonic, Sam Querrey, and Sam Groth in the last year, which shows he can handle the big servers and if he produces anything like his best service game today he’s likely to take Isner past 23.5 games at 2.0.
I’m tempted by Alexandr Dolgopolov to beat Ernests Gulbis, who looked a little out of sorts yesterday and appeared on court as if he’s been sleeping rough for a few days, but I’m not sure I can seriously bet on a match between these two.
Their prior meetings ended in easy straight sets wins for one then the other in Monte-Carlo on the clay three years apart and I don’t trust either of them to produce their best today.
I’m also tempted by Marin Cilic to beat Paul-Henri Mathieu with something to spare, with the 1.67 about Cilic minus 1.5 sets looking decent in that one.
Back over 22.5 games in Nieminen/Sijsling at 1.88
Back over 23.5 games in Matosevic/Isner at 2.00