It’s quarter finals day at the 2012 Mutua Madrid Masters, and after another profitable day’s betting on Thursday we move on to the business end of the tournament.
I said yesterday that I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a shock result in either Rafa Nadal or Novak Djokovic’s matches but I didn’t expect Rafa to lose from 5-2 up in the final set against Fernando Verdasco.
That must have been a painful loss for both Nadal and many punters, and the upshot of it all is that Nadal and Djokovic are planning to boycott this event next year if the organisers don’t change the controversial blue clay for 2013.
The first match up today is Juan Martin Del Potro versus Alexandr Dolgopolov. After bringing in another winning bet yesterday against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, I’m sticking with the awkward Ukrainian again today.
Del Potro is a big favourite for this at around [1.16] and I expect him to win it, but a confident Dolgo is not an opponent to take lightly. He should have enough in his box of tricks to take Delpo into areas of the court that he’s not that comfortable with.
You don’t want to do too much running on these Madrid courts and if Dolgo can work a variety of drop shots and tricky slices into the play, Del Potro won’t appreciate having to move quickly and often on this surface.
I expect a player of the Argentine’s class to work Dolgo out eventually, but if he’s not too tired after a long match with Tsonga yesterday, Dolgopolov can take this match over the 20.5 games mark at a price of [1.8].
They have met on two occasions in the past - both on hard courts - and the score has been the same both times: 6-3, 7-6 to Delpo. A repeat of that scoreline today would be enough to earn the overs win.
Although Del Potro is on a winning run of nine in a row on clay, he hasn’t beaten anyone of any real note. This week he’s faced the hopelessly out of form Florian Mayer and Marin Cilic, who tried to outhit Del Potro.
Mikhail Youzhny has more variety to his game and he pushed Delpo close, so it’s certainly within Dolgopolov’s ability to do the same today.
It’s hard to back against any of the favourites in the other three quarter finals, but with Djokovic still moaning about the courts I think it’s worth taking him on against his friend and countryman Janko Tipsarevic.
The Serbian number two isn’t generally at his best on clay and I expected Gilles Simon to beat him yesterday. Now that he’s here in the last eight, in a big match on centre stage on a court that plays more like a hard-court, he has a shot.
Tipsy probably won’t win the match but he’s worth backing on the handicap +1.5 sets at around [3.05] as he usually does nick a set when he plays Djokovic. I don’t think the world number one is too fussed about carrying on in this tournament anyway.
When you’re coming out with quotes like: “the winner will be the one that doesn’t get hurt at the end of the week” you’ve got a seriously de-motivated player on your hands and that should be to Tipsy’s advantage today.
He’s taken a set from Djokovic in four of their five matches, so odds of [3.05] on him doing so again look worth taking.
Back over 20.5 games in Del Potro v Dolgopolov at [1.8]
Back Tipsarevic +1.5 sets v Djokovic at [3.05]