Monday sees the conclusion of the men’s third round matches at the 2013 Sony Open and I think it’s worth siding with Jarkko Nieminen to push Jo-Wilfried Tsonga closer than the odds suggest.
Tsonga struggled at Indian Wells with a knee problem and limped past the out-of-form Viktor Troicki in his opening match here in Miami. The streaky Nieminen, meanwhile, has gone from strength to strength after coming back from a seemingly impossible deficit to defeat David Nalbandian in his opening round. The Finn went on to crush Martin Klizan in round two and he has beaten Tsonga on outdoor hard courts on two occasions in the past.
The Frenchman should win this one, but he hasn’t been putting opponents away lately and laboured to all of his wins at Indian Wells. This slow surface in Miami isn’t ideal for either player and this match could well go to three sets, so I’m siding with the over 21.5 games at 1.75.
Elsewhere, I like the chances of Milos Raonic and Andreas Seppi to progress against Sam Querrey and Thomaz Bellucci respectively in a double that pays around 2.20.
Querrey has been poor so far this season and struggled badly against Lukasz Kubot in round two, scoring just one more point than the Pole. He's never been past the third round at Crandon Park. Raonic should enjoy these conditions more than Querrey, who can't be backed with any confidence at the moment.
Seppi has a great chance to improve upon his poor Miami record when he takes on Bellucci. The Italian's more solid game should prove effective against Bellucci's hit-and-miss approach. Although it's always dangerous to write the Brazilian off, it seems likely that the Italian will prevail in what could be a three setter.
Back over 21.5 games in Tsonga v Nieminen at 1.75
Back Raonic and Seppi in a double at 2.2