It’s semi-final Saturday in Canada as the 2013 Coupe Rogers reaches its latter stages in Toronto tonight.
There’s a familiar look to one semi-final and a distinctly unfamiliar look to the other, as Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal face off for the 36th time, while Vasek Pospisil and Milos Raonic make up an all-Canadian match first up.
Yesterday’s wager on Nikolay Davydenko was void, as the Russian quit after three games in what was the 32nd retirement or withdrawal of his career. Apparently he’d been suffering from bronchitis all week, which makes it surprising that he managed to reach the quarter-finals at all. My other wager was foiled when Marinko Matosevic lacked the necessary energy to take Nadal over the total games mark – perhaps as a result of too much birthday cake the night before.
Pospisil admitted that he was fortunate in Davydenko quitting, as he was tired after two long weeks of tennis. He said that he had sore legs and was breathless even in the three games he played against the Russian. Whether a day’s rest will be enough remains to be seen against Raonic, who has also had big problems with his fitness this week. It could turn into a survival of the fittest out there tonight.
Vasek has beaten Milos in three of their four previous meetings, but all of those wins came in Futures, while Raonic’s victory came in a Challenger three years ago, so there’s little to tell from that.
Clearly, this match will be dominated by serve and I certainly wouldn’t touch the 1.43 about Raonic, whose game is in transition at the moment and who can’t rally for more than about four shots without making an error or a winner – largely the former. The Serve aside, Pospisil can do everything as well if not better than Raonic. Vasek has a mean delivery himself and a returner as poor as Milos will struggle to make much of an impression.
Over 22.5 games looks pretty much nailed on here unless one of them struggles badly physically. At 1.65 that has to be the bet here.
At 1am UK time Nadal will attempt to defeat Djokovic on a hard court for the first time since the 2010 US Open, but it’s not as if Nole has comfortably taken care of the Spaniard on hard, as their epic meeting in Melbourne last year highlighted. That five-set win for the Serb was their last match on hard and although I make the world number one the favourite for this, the odds should be closer to 1.55 in my view.
I think Novak will win this one, but the outright price is of no interest to me so I’ll side with the 2-0 Djokovic win here at around 2.06.
Back over 22.5 games in Pospisil vs Raonic at 1.65
Back Djokovic to beat Nadal 2-0 at 2.06