Round four of the 2016 ATP Miami Open takes place on Tuesday, with all eight matches in-play at Crandon Park, Key Biscayne today.
It was one winner and one loser on Monday in Miami, with ‘sure thing’ backers having few worries with the Gael Monfils/Nick Kyrgios double, but Jack Sock failed to get the set we needed from him against Milos Raonic.
A poor opening set tie break was followed by an immediate loss of serve by Sock at the start of the second and that period of play defined the match in Raonic’s favour on another testing day for the players in Key Biscayne.
We’re set for more high humidity on Tuesday and possibly thunderstorms today too to make it a physical examination once more.
In the fourth round of the 2015 Miami Open we saw three underdogs winners from eight matches, but nothing over 2.35 in price, although Novak Djokovic should probably have been beaten by Alexandr Dolgopolov.
Richard Gasquet vs Tomas Berdych
Instead of trying to figure out who will win this peculiar match-up I find it easier and more profitable to go with the unders – either sets or games – as either or both tend to yield a fine profit.
The pair have met on 14 occasions at all levels (13 at main level) and they’ve won seven each, so it’s been a career series that neither man has been able to dominate and one almost always capitulates all too quickly.
Gasquet was the one who benefitted from a capitulation from Benoit Paire in round three in Miami this week, but it could be him that receives a heavy defeat today, with all seven of his losses to Berdych coming in straight sets.
Nine of their 10 clashes on hard courts have ended in straight sets and only three of their last 20 sets against each other have gone past 10 games.
Berdych tends to play well in Miami yet he was beaten in two sets by Gasquet when the pair met here in 2013 and there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason or pattern to the results of these clashes.
Only one of their last seven opening sets has gone past nine games and that was on clay in Madrid last season, while on outdoor hard courts seven of nine opening sets have finished in nine games or fewer.
So, under 9.5 games at 2.23 seems decent value, as does the under 22.5 at 1.94, which has come in in all seven of their best-of-three set outdoor hard meetings so far, and on another brutally humid day I can't see many matches going long.
Horacio Zeballos vs David Goffin
It doesn’t sit particularly well with me to have Goffin as a ‘sure thing’, but apart from Novak Djokovic the Belgian looks the cert of the day against an opponent he’s beaten easily of late and who will probably be exhausted.
Zeballos was out on his feet and surely only Fernando Verdasco and a few select others I can think of would have been able to conjure a defeat from a winning situation like the one Verdasco was in against the Argentine.
Leading all the statistical categories and playing a cramping lucky loser and holding a match point Verdasco was unable to get over the line and despite barely being able to move Zeballos took it, but surely his run ends here.
The Argentine will, no doubt, get all the support from the crowd again, and that may help him, but in five of his last six sets against Goffin the Belgian has won them by six games to one.
Goffin also won his last two sets here in Miami by that same 6-1 scoreline, but he’s been a little lucky to face two players who went the full distance in their previous match.
Viktor Troicki wasn’t up to much at all in their round three clash after a marathon against Inigo Cervantes in round two and it could well be the same story here for Zeballos.
Zeballos did actually beat Goffin here in Miami back in 2014 as a 3.05 chance, but in these circumstances it would be a fine effort indeed to get the better of a much fresher and much higher ranked opponent, who’s easily had the better of their recent meetings.
The under 0.5 tie breaks, 2-0 to Goffin or -4.5 games on Goffin appeal here as sure things, with the 2-0 to the Belgian at 1.42 the pick.
Gilles Simon vs Lucas Pouille
I expected David Ferrer to grind out the win against Pouille the other day, but all credit to the young Frenchman, who played well and took advantage of another below par showing from the fading Ferrer.
Now he must overcome a 1-9 main level record against fellow Frenchmen when he takes on another top defender in Simon, but the odds on him starting well and taking the opening set seem high at 3.20 and a viable ‘long shot’ for Tuesday.
We had success with Simon beating Marin Cilic by two sets to one the other day and that one must have taken a fair bit from the Simon energy reserves in what was a classic Simon grind that lasted over two-and-three-quarter hours.
Pouille’s match with Ferrer took almost the same amount of time, but after a career best win the younger Frenchman will be buzzing and surely eager for more in what looks a winnable match today.
Pouille took the opener in his only prior clash with Simon, which was on clay at the French Open last year and the elder Frenchman has hardly been playing his best tennis of late.
Simon may well grind out the win, but he looks short for the opening set given his regular slow starts, and he hasn’t beaten a fellow Frenchman on outdoor hard courts since 2013.
Sure thing: Back Goffin to beat Zeballos 2-0 at 1.42
Value bet: Back under 22.5 games in Gasquet/Berdych at 1.94
Long shot: Back Pouille to win set one at 3.20