We’re down to the remaining six players in contention for the BNP Paribas Open title at Indian Wells, with the last two quarter-finals in play today.
Thursday’s best bet was a comfortable winner, as Alexandr Dolgopolov took apart the one-dimensional game of Milos Raonic to great effect, winning in straight sets at a good price.
Dolgo drifted in the betting on the day and was odds-against before the off, but he broke Raonic in the very first game and didn’t really look back from that point. One break of the Ukrainian’s serve was swiftly recovered and Raonic was clearly a beaten man by the end.
John Isner 2.25 vs Ernests Gulbis 1.62 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 22.35
Play starts in this big-hitting clash at around 22.30 UK time and it’s far from straightforward to call a winner in this fourth meeting between the two.
On the one hand we have Gulbis, who looked to be in a pretty poor physical state at the end of his win over Roberto Bautista-Agut and on the other we have Isner, who is very motivated here and is very tough to break in these conditions.
Isner has won 33 of his last 39 matches in the USA, while in the same timeframe he’s 13-13 away from home and his reaction in the latter stages of his win over Fernando Verdasco show how much this tournament means to him.
Gulbis meanwhile was becoming embroiled in a pointless argument with the umpire about crowd noise and the usual racquet smashing histrionics in a bad tempered affair against his “spoiled princess” Bautista-Agut – a bit rich coming from Ernie, the temperamental son of an actress and very wealthy father.
I’m not convinced that Gulbis at 1.62 is a terribly good bet here. It looks like pretty much a 50/50 call to me and on that basis Isner would be a little bit of value at 2.25.
The pair haven’t met on the tour on outdoor hard, with their three prior meetings coming on grass, clay and indoor hard, so this will complete the set and their most recent clash came indoors at the Valencia Open, where Isner won in two tie breaks.
This match has that sort of feel about it, with both posting high win percentages on first serve so far this tournament as you would expect, but Gulbis has been down at around 50 percent on his second ball in his last two matches.
Whether the poor returning Isner can take advantage of that remains to be seen, but I get the sense that Gulbis is much the more likely of the two to lose patience with Isner’s serves flying by him on a regular basis. Isner is well used to not being able to return serve and I'm not sure he's bothered while his own delivery is working.
The odds on Ernie smashing a racquet in this one would be around 1.1 and it’s worth noting that their meeting in Valencia saw 18 break points created between the two with not a one taken.
The over 100.5 total minutes bet looks good here at 1.87, with Isner’s match with Verdasco lasting 112 minutes and there’ll probably a good 10 minutes of Ernie chatting with the umpire to add to this one.
For a bigger price, the 2-1 Isner at 4.40 looks the best choice, with Gulbis perhaps likely to cramp again toward the end, but the over time bet looks solid to me.
Back over 100.5 total minutes in Isner/Gulbis at 1.87