It’s semi-finals day in Stockholm, Vienna and Moscow on Saturday and hopefully we’ll have some better luck today than was the case on Friday. Yesterday was one of those days when nothing went right, with one letting me down in my treble, and misfortune in one of my other bets.
Tommy Haas must have been a bit too keen to celebrate his 500th career win the previous day and produced a performance filled with errors to lose to an in-form Grega Zemlja, while Mikhail Youzhny was so close to the set win he needed against Tomas Berdych.
The Russian’s failure to convert more than one of his 10 break point chances ultimately cost him the match, but even then he had a chance in the second set breaker but played a poor one. Then Sergiy Stakhovsky served appallingly by the standards of his previous round, which cost him any chance of pushing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
As we get down to the final stages of the tournament it’s worth noting that this year’s ATP World Tour calendar has been dominated by the top seeds in tournaments, with only a handful of events being won by lower ranked players.
I can only think of Jarkko Nieminen in Sydney, who won as a qualifier, and Jurgen Melzer in Memphis as exceptions - possibly Tommy Haas in Halle as well - but otherwise it’s been pretty predictable stuff. Even at the end of last year, when you might expect some shocks, only Marcel Granollers in Valencia delivered.
And it’s the same again today. In Stockholm the number one, two, three and seven seeds face off in the semis, and in Vienna the one and two seeds are in action. Even in Moscow, the number two and four seeds are still going strong.
Starting in Moscow, Andreas Seppi has looked good all week and continues to enjoy a favourable draw, this time against Malek Jaziri, who has become the first Tunisian to reach a tour level semi-final. The Italian should take that one with a bit to spare, as he did when they played indoors a year ago in Mons.
The other semi-final between Ivo Karlovic and Thomaz Bellucci looks set to go long, with Ivo a slight favourite in my book. Bellucci is yet to reach a tour level final on a hard court and he’s yet to defeat Karlovic, but the bet in this one has to be the over 24.5 games at a price of 1.80
In Stockholm I can’t see past a Tsonga/Berdych double against Marcos Baghdatis and Nico Almagro respectively. That pays about 1.63 and looks pretty solid to me and it’s worth adding Seppi as well to make it a 1.89 shot.
The Vienna semi-finals offer at least a chance of a potential shock, with Juan Martin Del Potro facing Gilles Muller and Janko Tipsarevic meeting Grega Zemlja. Both seeds are long odds on and should win, but I’m not sure I fancy Tipsarevic at 1.15 against Zemlja, who played a really good match to beat Haas on Friday.
Zemlja served very well and was incredibly effective on the German’s second serve, winning 25 of 30 points - a stat that Haas is unlikely to record again for the rest of his career. The Slovenian enjoys playing on these fairly lively courts and with Tipsarevic only having played three and a bit sets in Vienna so far this week it’s hard to tell what sort of form he is in.
It’s worth taking a chance on over 21.5 total games at 2.08 and trusting Zemlja to keep up the same level he showed yesterday. If he does he’s in with a decent chance in this match.
Back over 24.5 games in Karlovic v Bellucci at 1.80
Back Tsonga, Berdych and Seppi in a treble at 1.89
Back over 21.5 games in Zemlja v Tipsarevic at 2.08