The men’s fourth round begins on Sunday in the 2015 Australian Open, with four intriguing matches to look forward to today.
Saturday’s play yielded two winners from my three wagers, with my ‘sure thing’ treble landing fairly comfortably and Guillermo Garcia Lopez providing an equally straightforward success too.
My long shot was rather unfortunate, as Fernando Verdasco narrowly failed to see out the opening set tie break against Novak Djokovic that would surely have made the 3-1 to Djokovic highly likely.
As it was Verdasco coughed up a comedic double fault when leading in the breaker and his chance all but went up in smoke at that point.
Bernard Tomic vs Tomas Berdych
There are a couple of bets I like in this one and the ‘sure thing’ has to be the 1.37 about over 32.5 total games in this 04:00 UK time start on Margaret Court Arena.
Once again the forecast is for a cool day, so heat certainly shouldn’t be an issue, and it would be a big surprise if this tight-looking clash didn’t have at least 33 games in it and probably many more.
Both of their previous encounters – and all three if you include their Hopman Cup meeting – have been close ones with four tie breaks sets in their last eight and it seems unlikely that either player will win this in straights.
Berdych may be affected by the 18mph winds that are forecast with his high ball toss and in any case a confident Tomic is more than capable of taking at least a set here unless the Berdman has a superb day.
The over 39.5 games appeals, but my worry is the tendency to give up that Tomic has exhibited on numerous occasions in the past and if he goes 2-1 down the disappointment could see a quick final set, as it did at Wimbledon last year.
So, the over 3.5 sets at 1.62 is my second wager of the day.
Rafael Nadal vs Kevin Anderson
I expect many punters will look to this match as a potential upset, but I’m not feeling it, and I expect Nadal to come through this one, with the 3-1 at 4.20 being a more than viable long shot wager.
Clearly, Nadal hasn’t been at his best this season so far, but he seems to be getting better with matches and I’d like a bigger price than 3.35 about Anderson winning this one.
I said a few days ago that Anderson was starting to play well after a slow start to the year and many would have made money on my advice that the South African could take down Richard Gasquet, but this is much tougher.
Anderson has only played Nadal once, but his style of play is so similar to that of Berdych that I can’t help thinking that Big Kev will have the same sort of problems that the Czech has with the Spaniard.
Big Kev has to start well and he has to take set one to have any chance, but I would seriously doubt whether Anderson can play well enough for long enough to beat Rafa over five sets at a major.
The South African is 0-13 against top-10 players in majors and if you’re backing Anderson you're relying rather too much on Nadal being below par in my view.
For my outright position on Berdych/Tomic this fortnight an Anderson win would be great for me, but Rafa showed enough against Dudi Sela for me to think he’ll come though here in four sets.
Sure thing: Back over 32.5 total games in Berdych/Tomic at 1.37
Value bet: Back over 3.5 sets in Berdych/Tomic at 1.62
Long shot: Back Nadal to beat Anderson 3-1 at 4.20