The first of the quarter finals at the 2015 BNP Paribas Open begins on Thursday, as the opening Masters 1000 of the season reaches the business end of proceedings.
It was a tough day of tennis betting on Wednesday, with John Isner failing by one game to land the set one overs in his clash with Novak Djokovic, but the ‘sure thing’ of over 19.5 total games was a winner.
Thanasi Kokkinakis did cause the expected problems for Bernard Tomic, but again he fell short by one game in the set one overs and in hindsight the set handicap proved to be a better choice.
The slightly odd scheduling at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden has meant that there are only two ATP matches on the card for today, with my focus falling on world number one Djokovic.
Novak Djokovic vs Bernard Tomic
It’s yet another night match for Djokovic, who this time gets a 19:00 local time (02:00 UK) start in what will be his fourth tour level clash with Aussie Tomic.
Djokovic has won all three so far, while Tomic has taken the two they have played at exhibition level in the Hopman Cup and Kooyong Classic at home in Australia.
Previous meetings don’t count for that much here though, with the last one at any level coming over two years ago and much has changed since then.
Tomic has shown some decent fight this week in the desert, which is something very rarely said about Bernie and it will be interesting to see if that continues when things are going against him, as they surely will tonight.
Against top-five ranked opponents Tomic has always struggled so far in his career in a 1-14 record, with the one coming way back in 2011 on grass against Robin Soderling.
Since week one of 2012 Tomic has lost all 23 sets he’s played against the top-five and only once has he pushed a set past 4-6.
In Masters 1000 competition this is the first time that Tomic has made the last eight and for me has a lot to prove against the best players in the men’s game.
People have been waiting years for Bernie to come good after numerous false dawns and he’s got them at it again this week, with his solid performances up until now.
It could well be the case that with the disruptive John Tomic out of the way and Tony Roche on board that Bernie is finally getting the advice and mentorship that he’s lacked, but this match looks a step too far for the 22-year-old.
He’s also played a lot of tennis this season – 25 matches so far – and despite winning the Australian Open Djokovic has played only 19 in 2015 so far.
Tomic has played 13 sets in 14 days now and that might tell tonight, which adds to my belief that Djokovic will take this one with something to spare.
The Aussie has tended to fade away against the best, with his second sets against the top-five since the start of 2012 ending in fewer than 9.5 games six times in 10 matches and all bar one have ended with him winning four games or fewer.
The 1.65 about under 9.5 games in set two looks decent here, with the -5.5 game handicap on Djokovic also under consideration, as was the under 19.5 total games.
Back under 9.5 games in set two of Djokovic/Tomic at 1.65