The semi finals of the 2015 BNP Paribas Masters are all set for Saturday in Bercy, with three Grand Slam winners in action today.
One such major winner, Novak Djokovic foiled my set betting punt on the world number one to beat Tomas Berdych 2-1 by the skin of his teeth on a frustrating night’s play in Paris.
Berdych had set points to win both sets, but failed with all of them to go down 6-7, 6-7 to the Serb and it was a similar story in the last quarter final of the day.
Rafa Nadal served for set one and had three set points in each set, only to also lose 6-7, 6-7 to a coffee-powered Wawrinka, who decided that the match was going on far too late and ordered himself a courtside buffet.
Novak Djokovic vs Stanislas Wawrinka
So, it’s another Paris meeting between Wawrinka and Djokovic after their memorable French Open final in June and Djokovic will be hoping for a better result than that one this time around.
It’ll be their 24th career clash in all of a series that Djokovic leads 19-4 in all and 6-1 on indoor hard courts, with Stan’s only win on this surface coming way back in 2006 in Vienna.
Djokovic is even shorter today than he was in the French Open final and in all as a 1.10 to 1.20 favourite the Serb has a 147-15 record and 22-1 on indoor hard, with the only loss coming in 2008 to Gilles Simon in Marseille.
He did take a couple of tumble last night in that tight win over Berdych, but it’s unlikely to have caused him any more problems than a minor abrasion or two, and Wawrinka had some pills dispensed to him for a headache (as well as the coffee).
That win over Berdych was the first time in 680 match wins that Djokovic has failed to break his opponent’s serve and it’s not that surprising on this ghastly pudding of a court surface.
Indeed, the slow nature of the indoor surfaces these days is one big reason why Wawrinka has failed to really compete indoors against Djokovic, with his last three losses coming at set scores of 3-6, 0-6; 3-6, 3-6; and 1-6, 4-6.
The conditions are perfect for Djokovic to defend on, but he has hardly looked unbeatable this week, with Simon breaking him five times and now a failure to break the serve of Berdych.
I don’t see Stan winning this match unless he finds his absolute best level and keeps it up and in hard court Masters 1000s he’s rarely, if ever, brought that level to the court.
This is only Wawrinka’s second ever Masters 1000 semi final on a hard court, with his last one coming in Cincy back in 2012, and I think the best he can hope for here is a set.
Djokovic has won 18 of his last 22 Masters semi finals, but conditions here are so slow that the value for me is the over 9.5 games in set one at 1.79.
The last dozen matches at the Paris Masters this year have seen the opening set go past nine games eight times, with five of them being tie breaks and either the over 0.5 tie breaks or set one overs look the ones here.
Djokovic has often started fast against Wawrinka, but these conditions are horrible, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it’s here in Bercy that Djokovic failed to break serve in a win for the first time ever.
Value bet: Back over 9.5 games in set one at 1.79