We were in the money again on Thursday night, as my tip Grigor Dimitrov cruised past Jurgen Melzer in straight sets in Brisbane. The young Bulgarian fired down 17 aces and won 85% of first serve points, which was a similar performance to the previous round where he won all 26 first serve points against Milos Raonic.
The other three quarter-finals were also won in straights, which sets up two intriguing semi-finals tonight in Queensland.
First up at 2am UK time is the first semi between Dimitrov and Marcos Baghdatis. I think it’s worth sticking with Grigor while his confidence is flowing and he’s serving so well. The serve is the key to the Baghdatis game, of course, and the Cypriot will need to improve upon the 52% of first deliveries that he managed to get in play last night against Gilles Simon if he’s to win this.
If he is serving well, Baghdatis can still be a tough opponent for most and this is his time of year, so this will almost certainly be a big test for the 21-year-old Bulgarian. But Dimitrov’s movement and variety of play have been excellent this week and added to his superb serving it’s worth persevering with him tonight at around 1.83. There is a feeling that both opponents of Baghdatis have been below par and there’s a chance that the wins over Simon and Mayer may not amount to as much as they might appear.
The second semi-final is a really interesting contest. Kei Nishikori certainly has a shot against Andy Murray for those staying up until the small hours.
Murray has been somewhat up and down this week and if Nishikori brings his best tennis tonight he could cause a problem or two for the Scot. The US Open champion tends to raise his game when faced with more dangerous opposition though and the head-to-head strongly favours Murray, who has dominated each of the five sets they’ve played against each other. I won’t be having a bet in this one, as I haven’t seen enough evidence that Nishikori can hurt Murray enough in the rallies to take the win.
Back Dimitrov to beat Baghdatis at 1.83