Today’s semi-finals in Casablanca feature the top three seeds. The 'gatecrasher' is Tommy Robredo, who takes a good record into a clash with top seed Stan Wawrinka at 3pm UK time.
Robredo has won four of their five meetings, but it's worth noting that they were all a long time ago. Tommy enjoyed the benefit of yet another mental aberration from Benoit Paire yesterday and I doubt he’ll find Stan in such a benevolent mood this afternoon. Wawrinka is a 1.25 shot to continue his unbeaten record in Casablanca.
The other semi-final between Martin Klizan and Kevin Anderson is intriguing, with Anderson in his first career tour level semi on clay. The pair have met twice before, with Anderson winning comfortably on indoor hard in Valencia in 2011. Klizan has been a thorn in my side this week, but I would expect Anderson to come through to his first clay final.
In Houston, Nico Almagro looks an absolute certainty to beat Rhyne Williams and is priced up accordingly at around 1.07. Williams has had a career week in reaching the last four, although he has been pretty fortunate with his opponents so far. This where his run ends.
The American has had two tough three-setters and I would consider the under 19.5 total games in that one, as I would expect the Spaniard to be ruthless tonight against an inexperienced opponent.
But the best bet for me is to take Juan Monaco to defeat John Isner with a –1.5 game handicap at around 1.85. The Argentine may not win in straight sets, but I’d be surprised if he was unable to cover the games handicap against such a poor returner as Isner tonight.
Last year’s final between these two went the way of Monaco by four games in total and if anything, Isner has regressed since then. He just isn’t creating anywhere near enough break point chances to win matches against quality opposition.
I said yesterday that Monaco hadn’t shown enough this season to be a short-priced favourite, but Isner is going to have to serve amazingly well to upset the Argentine tonight. It might take a while, as Isner can shut opponents out with his serve, but Monaco should prevail eventually and it should be by at least a couple of games if not more.
Best bet: Back Monaco –1.5 games to beat Isner at 1.85