Thursday’s play at the 2014 Australian Open was a memorable one for many reasons and a maddeningly frustrating one for punters.
We had it all on day four in Melbourne; extreme heat, thunder, lightning, rain delays and play going on until after 1.30am local time.
Play was halted as the controversial ‘extreme heat policy’ kicked in – but not on all of the courts! – before the storms came and most of the men’s matches were played in the cooler part of the day.
That didn’t stop some incredible matches though, with Andreas Seppi and Donald Young going well past the overs to land my first bet of the day, but what happened to Marin Cilic almost defied belief.
On the untelevised Court 15 the Croat was a set up and twice served for the second against a supposedly injured Gilles Simon, who went four-and-a-half hours in the previous round.
Cilic somehow lost that set, and after going 5-0 up in set three he ended up taking it on a tie break before losing the next two.
More misfortune was to follow when Nick Kyrgios went two sets and a break up on Benoit Paire before his body let him down and he refused to retire, despite being barely able to move.
I was counting my money on both of those, but ended up with nothing. Let’s see if Friday brings better fortune:
Florian Mayer 1.57 v Jerzy Janowicz 2.33 – BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV at 00.05
Despite Mayer’s five setter in the previous round I like his chances of getting the better of Janowicz, who has been struggling with a foot injury and wasn’t far off being beaten by Pablo Andujar and Jordan Thompson in the first two rounds here.
Gilles Simon and Andreas Seppi proved that it’s possible to go long back-to-back here, and I suspect that it’ll be JJ’s conditioning which will go before that of the German in this one.
Mayer must be incredibly frustrating for someone like Jerzy to play due to his unusual style, and in this heat he’ll get to the Pole’s suspect temperament sooner or later.
JJ celebrated like he’d won a clean sweep of majors when he beat Andujar, which shows where his ambitions are right now and Mayer minus 2.5 games on the handicap at 1.83 looks like the bet here.
Kevin Anderson 1.58 v Edouard Roger-Vasselin 2.30 – BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 03.05
Big South African Anderson should have a physical advantage to go with his bigger game when he takes on France’s Roger-Vasselin at around 03.05 UK time on Margaret Court Arena.
‘Big Kev’ has now fully recovered from a bout of food poisoning and I like that he’s been changing things up in the off-season by switching racquets and bringing a sports psychologist on board too. He’ll also be getting a new coach shortly, so he’s not standing still with his game by any means.
With the Wilson balls flying around it’s tough to see a jaded ERV being able to get the better of Anderson here despite being in arguably the best form of his career. He’s already been suffering in the heat this week and vomiting, and so a 2pm local time start is not what he’d have wanted.
It might be another long one, but I like the –2.5 games on Anderson here at 1.85.
Elsewhere it should be a pretty comfortable night for Tomas Berdych, who faces little known Bosnian Damir Dzumhur. The small world number 188 will try and counter punch against the power of the big Czech, but the Berdman should win in three.
Novak Djokovic will potentially be tested more by in-form Uzbek Denis Istomin, who landed a nice win over Dmitry Tursunov the previous round and took a set from Nole in their last meeting on a hard court in Montreal. He could sneak a set, so the 4.75 about 3-1 Djokovic is worth considering as a long shot.
Back Mayer –2.5 games to beat Janowicz at 1.83
Back Anderson –2.5 games to beat Roger-Vasselin at 1.85