After a remarkable day’s tennis action at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Monday the third round of the BNP Paribas Open completes on Tuesday, writes Sean Calvert...
We witnessed a woeful performance from Andy Murray in victory, a defeat for Rafa Nadal from a seemingly winning position, after the predicted farce between Gael Monfils and Fabio Fognini and the rare sight of Milos Raonic breaking an opponent’s serve twice.
Punters were left bemused and to quote Nadal, “Today was an accident. I lost.”
I chose the wrong wager in the Dmitry Tursunov/Roger Federer match in which two double faults in two tie breaks ended up foiling the set handicap bet on the Russian. Annoyingly, the +5.5 games was a comfortable winner in a tight contest that the Swiss will be relieved to have won in two.
Raonic foiled my overs bet by not playing by his usual rules against Alejandro Falla, while Dolgo took down my set one overs by taking his first ever set over Rafa. Today was indeed an accident.
We kick off at 18.00 UK time on Tuesday with an intriguing contest between a veteran Spaniard and an in-form Croatian.
Tommy Robredo 3.50, Marin Cilic 1.28 - BET and WATCH live on Unibet TV from 18.05 GMT
The Croatian’s superb run over the last month or so has led to him being priced up at a very tight-looking 1.28 against a very capable performer in these conditions, such as Robredo.
The last time that this pair met across the net was here five years ago and for me the slow conditions and gusty wind don’t favour Cilic’s power game, as can be borne out by his 5-6 record at Indian Wells.
Robredo produced a typically gutsy display to come through against Marinko Matosevic in round one and he can certainly do enough to challenge Marin here today, with the Croatian having plenty of tennis in his legs in recent weeks.
This will be his 17th match since February 3 and I’d be worried about that if I was on Cilic at 1.28 here against a battler like Tommy. The 1.94 about the Spaniard picking up a set in this match looks a good choice to me.
Richard Gasquet 1.34, Fernando Verdasco 3.15 - BET and WATCH live on Unibet TV from 19.05 GMT
These two know each other’s games inside out with 14 previous meetings dating back a decade to their very first meeting in the qualifiers of Sydney in 2004.
Gasquet holds an 8-6 lead and has won three of the last four, but their most recent meeting at the end of last season on slow indoor hard in Bercy was tight and the Frenchman looks no sure thing at 1.35 to me in this 20.00 UK time clash.
The Gasman had an easy ride against an injured Teimuraz Gabashvili in round one and he may be a little undercooked here in these unique conditions at Indian Wells.
Verdasco wasn’t exactly convincing in his opening match, having to come from behind in both sets against Horacio Zeballos and you never know which Verdasco will turn up on court on any given day.
Hopefully this keenly contested rivalry will jog his memory as to how good a player he was at one stage and with Thomas Enqvist now in his camp as coach he should be motivated to perform well.
The slow, high bouncing courts will test Gasquet’s one handed backhand, which will come under fire from Verdasco’s leftie forehand and the Gasquet 2-1 at 3.65 and the over 22.5 games at 2.02 appeal here.
Dominic Thiem 2.10, Julien Benneteau 1.72 - BET and WATCH live on Unibet TV from 22.05 GMT
Benny landed a very nice win over compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round here on Sunday and he’ll be in a confident frame of mind coming into his first career meeting with young sensation Thiem.
But the Austrian will also be in buoyant mood after taking another Frenchman in Gilles Simon in straight sets and all the pressure will be on Benny, whereas he had little to lose against Tsonga as a biggish underdog.
And it’s in the mind where Julien really struggles, as his woeful record in finals illustrates and it leads me to side with Thiem here, whose big game can penetrate this slow surface to such a degree that a great defender like Simon could do little about it.
Odds-on tournament favourite, Novak Djokovic should have a pretty comfortable time of it against Alejandro Gonzalez, who hadn’t won a match at tour level until this week, and it should be a breeze for Novak.
Back Robredo +1.5 sets to beat Cilic at 1.94
Back over 22.5 games in Gasquet/Verdasco at 2.02
Back Thiem to beat Benneteau at 2.10