It was another deadly double at the Mutua Madrid Open on Saturday, as both of my advised bets were successful at nice prices.
Firstly, Tomas Berdych sneaked home in straight sets against Juan Martin Del Potro, who allowed himself to lose concentration at the vital times in the match, fretting about perceived injustices and making line calls.
And then Roger Federer despatched Janko Tipsarevic in well under the 79.5 minute mark for another winner on the day and the 10th from 13 bets this week at the Caja Majica.
The men’s final - which will begin after 3.30pm UK time - sees Roger Federer take on Tomas Berdych for the 15th time. The Swiss holding a 10-4 lead overall.
Berdych, though, has won three of their last five meetings and has taken to these courts a lot better than some of his fellow top-10 players. The Czech has also refused to be drawn as to his opinion on the controversial surface here this week. Perhaps he is holding out for a bit of a blast after today’s match, we’ll have to wait and see.
What we do know is that the Berdman has a tough task to claim his first win over Federer on clay, although they haven’t actually met on the dirt since way back in 2006 at Roland Garros. Today will bear little relation to that clash, of course, and conditions will be more akin to hard-courts, where Berdych has enjoyed success against Federer of late.
The world number seven can be unplayable if he’s right at the top of his game, but despite making great strides in improving the mental side of his game recently, he’s never going to be mentally tough enough to be a top two or three player in my view.
His career record in terms of titles bears that out: the Berdman has just seven titles in 10 years on tour. The evidence shows that, despite many great one-off wins, he’s not a prolific tournament winner by any means.
The pair have met just once in a final and that was on the grass of Halle back in 2006. Federer won that day, which I suspect will be the outcome again today. Berdych will, no doubt, enjoy some success against Federer with his thumping forehand on a surface that clearly suits his game, but he’s going to have to play his best tennis throughout this match to win it.
He didn’t do that against Del Potro yesterday and allowed the Argentine several opportunities that he was unable to take. That is unlikely to be good enough against the Swiss maestro today.
Federer has won his last six finals and the last time he lost in a final to a player ranked outside the top-four was in 2010, when he lost to Lleyton Hewitt.
Berdych, on the other hand, has never beaten a top-five player in a final. He’s only once beaten a top-10 player in a final and that was Ivan Ljubicic in Paris in 2005.
However, Tomas has taken at least one set from Roger in five of their last six meetings, so this might not be as straightforward as odds of 1.30 on a Federer win suggest.
I just can’t see Federer losing in a Masters final to Berdych though and I’ll take a chance that the Swiss will continue his recent great form and finish this one with a handicap of -3.5 games at around 1.80.
Back Federer -3.5 games on the handicap at 1.80