The fourth round of the men’s singles in the 2015 Miami Open is the order of the day at Crandon Park on Tuesday, with a host of top stars in action in Key Biscayne.
There was more success for the ‘sure things’ yesterday when there was no tie break in the David Ferrer/Lukas Rosol clash, but no joy for my ‘long shot’ with Gilles Simon beating Alejandro Falla 2-0 instead of 2-1 after a poor display from the Colombian.
And I was surprised that John Isner got the better of Grigor Dimitrov in these slow conditions and the Bulgarian’s mediocre season continues after a straight sets loss to the big man.
When you’re getting broken twice in a set by Isner you’re doing something very wrong and Dimitrov seems to be in a worrying slump for him and his team right now.
The fourth round a year ago here produced two underdog winners in the eight matches, with Alexandr Dolgopolov’s win over Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori’s victory over David Ferrer being the two concerned at 3.20.
Both are in action again this time around and Ferrer is involved in my ‘value bet’ for today.
David Ferrer vs Gilles Simon
The prospect of these two clashing in slow conditions should be enough to ensure that those hardy souls watching in the stands get value for their ticket money, as there’s certain to be some very long rallies here.
But I expect Ferrer to come out on top and I like the 2.08 about the Spaniard taking this in straight sets and also the no tie break again at 1.55.
The pair have met eight times and Ferrer has won six of them and in slow conditions it’s been the Spanish warrior who has emerged a convincing winner.
Ferrer has won all four on clay without dropping a set and only twice being taken past 6-3 in nine sets against the Frenchman on the dirt.
He also won their November 2013 clash on slow indoor hard in Bercy and Gillou’s two wins came on quick outdoor hard in Cincy and New York, while the speed of conditions in Melbourne allowed him to push Ferrer to four sets.
I don’t see that happening today in Miami and the 2-0 or -3.5 games both appeal here, while they have played only three tie breaks in 22 sets against each other, so in these conditions the 1.55 on zero today looks good.
Novak Djokovic vs Alexandr Dolgopolov
This match could be the start of a tricky little route through to the latter stages for Djokovic, who will probably need to play well here and again versus probably Ferrer and then Kei Nishikori to make another Miami final.
He’s certainly more than capable of doing it, but I think that on a good day Dolgo has a set in him and 5.20 about Djokovic winning this one in a decider looks a good long shot for Tuesday.
Djokovic has started his matches superbly this week and then lost focus rather and dropping a set to Martin Klizan and almost to Steve Darcis reveals a lack of concentration that he can’t really afford against Dolgo.
The eccentric Ukrainian has given Novak problems for a period in two of their three prior meetings and if he serves well he can give the Serbian something to think about again here.
When fit and healthy Dolgo can be a match for most and the chances of him grabbing one set are surely better than 5.20, with Djokovic highly likely to win two.
Tomas Berdych vs Gael Monfils
Berdych had to play superbly well when it mattered most to get out of a whole world of trouble against Bernard Tomic in the last round and he’ll be delighted to have come through that one.
At a set and 4-0 down in windy conditions the Czech really had to hang tough and he produced some really excellent tennis to survive match points in several different games against the Aussie.
And he should come through against Monfils in this 16:00 UK time start in what will be their sixth career meeting of a series that Berdych has had the better of to the tune of 4-1 so far.
Lamonf won their 2013 clash at the French Open in five gruelling sets, but on hard courts Berdych has had the upper hand, although the slowness of conditions here suggest that the showman could well push the Berdman harder than he has done in the past.
Monfils looked in pretty good nick when edging Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and although I expect Berdych to prevail it’s surely going to take more than 19.5 total games for him to do so.
That is a 1.28 shot and a good option for a ‘sure thing’ today.
Sure thing: Back over 19.5 games in Berdych/Monfils at 1.28
Value bet: Back Ferrer to beat Simon 2-0 at 2.08
Long shot: Back Djokovic to beat Dolgopolov 2-1 at 5.20