The remaining two places in the quarter finals of the 2016 Australian Open are on offer in Melbourne on Monday, with those in the bottom half of the draw looking to book their spots in the last eight.
Novak Djokovic is already there, but only just, after a bizarre day at Melbourne Park was highlighted by a performance from the world number one that saw him rack up a century of unforced errors.
In a most uncharacteristic display Djokovic failed with 19 of his 25 break point chances, while opponent Gilles Simon blew 14 of his 18 chances, all of which led to my ‘no tie breaks’ bet failing.
But we hauled it back later when Roberto Bautista-Agut provided us with a 2.75 winner for the value bet when the Spaniard took the opening set against Tomas Berdych.
Andrey Kuznetsov vs Gael Monfils
We’ve done well with Kuznetsov so far this tournament, with winning tips on the Russian beating Jeremy Chardy as underdog and covering a -1.5 set handicap against Dudi Sela, but that might be where his run comes to and end.
Monfils has been unusually efficient in his progress in this Grand Slam, with his straight sets win over compatriot Stephane Robert being his third 3-0 win in a row.
The last time that Lamonf did that in a major he ended up losing a five setter that he should have won against Roger Federer in the quarters of the 2014 US Open and in a Grand Slam career of over a decade and 112 matches on only one other occasion has he managed it.
And that was aided by a retirement in the 2009 US Open by Jose Acasuso, so three straight sets wins in rounds one, two and three is a rare feat indeed for Monfils, who has spoken about keeping his contact with the press to an absolute minimum this season
A sign of growing maturity and, dare I say it, focus from the flashy and extrovert Monfils? Possibly, but only time will tell if he’s able to resist messing about and trying for the show reel shot in big matches.
Against Kuznetsov he has the kind of opponent who can be a big danger to most on his day with heavy weapons on both sides, but up until recently he’s rarely been able to control them effectively
The Russian seems to have stepped up a notch this season and it will be interesting to see how he fares in his first ever round four of a major against a defender as capable as Monfils.
I’m not of a mind to trust Lamonf with any short prices, but the 3-1 win to the Frenchman is a worthy long shot for the day at around 3.75.
David Ferrer vs John Isner
The veteran Spanish warrior looked in fine form in the last round when he dismantled the game of one big-serving American in Stevie Johnson and he looks decent value to beat another US star in this 07:30 UK time clash.
Ferrer has fared well against Isner in their career series so far, with six wins from seven meetings, although hardly any have been in quick conditions like those here in Melbourne.
That said, this match is scheduled to start late in the evening when it’ll play a bit slower and that has to be another factor in favour of Ferrer.
Isner came into the tournament with a knee problem from Auckland, but he’s yet to face a break point in 53 service games so far this tournament, so he hasn’t had to do much running.
The big man says he feels fine, but I’d be surprised if Isner were able to cope with too many of Ferrer’s favourite grinding rallies, which he may have to in slower conditions.
So, he’ll need to be at his best at the service line and be ultra-aggressive in this one, which means he’ll need to accept a fair few unforced errors, but that seems his best chance of beating the Spaniard.
There aren’t many players that have a 6-1 record against Isner and the Spaniard, who clearly is effective returning the Isner serve, has enough going for him here to make the 2.02 about Ferrer -1.5 sets the bet.
Value bet: Back Ferrer -1.5 sets to beat Isner at 2.02
Long shot: Back Monfils to beat Kuznetsov 3-1 at 3.75