Thursday’s best bet - Tomas Berdych to defeat Kevin Anderson with a 3.5 game deficit - proved successful as the Czech eased through to the semi-finals of the 2013 BNP Paribas Open. It wasn’t the most convincing performance of the week from Berdych in a 6-4, 6-4 victory and much was down to Anderson’s lack of belief at the vital moments, but one always felt that Tomas was in control of the match and would be winner in the end.
Those that stayed up late to watch Roger Federer take on Rafa Nadal were disappointed, as an injury-restricted Federer went down in straight sets in an encounter that won’t live long in the memory.
The remaining two quarter-finals take place today at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. First up is world number one Novak Djokovic facing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at 8.30pm UK time. It will be the 15th meeting of a series that Djokovic currently leads 9-5 and the Serb has won the last seven in a row on grass, clay, hard and indoor hard.
For me, Tsonga has been quite fortunate to reach this stage of the tournament after benefitting from a choke from Milos Raonic in the previous round. The Frenchman had to receive treatment on his knee in that one, and you don’t really want to be facing Djokovic when you’re less than 100% physically. Although Nole had a late night match that lasted until 2am on Thursday, I very much doubt that will affect him in the slightest.
This gritty surface at Indian Wells doesn’t suit the Tsonga game, as is borne out by this being his first ever appearance at this stage of the tournament. I’ve seen nothing from him so far this week to change that view. That said, Djokovic hasn’t been at his best this week either, but now we’re at the business stage of the event I’d be surprised if he didn’t up his game over the next few days.
For me this one will go the way of Djokovic pretty comfortably and I’ll take the -4.5 game handicap on the world number one at around 1.87.
Best bet: Back Djokovic -4.5 games to beat Tsonga at 1.87