As the sun continues to beat down in Melbourne, Sean Calvert previews day four of the men's draw of the Australian Open...
The men’s second round completes on day four of the Australian Open on Thursday in Melbourne.
There were more casualties of the extreme heat on Wednesday on a day where it was one winner and one disappointing defeat from my two best bets.
Jeremy Chardy defeated Alex Dolgopolov in a tight four-setter that went pretty much the way I had expected, while Guillermo Garcia-Lopez was unable to get the better of Edouard Roger-Vasselin and went down in four sets.
As for conditions, well, they continue to be much too hot for professional sport to be played in and on Wednesday Ivan Dodig, who retired at two sets to one up against Damir Dzumhur, said: “I was thinking I could maybe even die here.”
When you have players as teak tough as Dodig quitting while ahead in the match you’ve got problems and Florian Mayer, who won in five against Mikhail Youzhny, joined Dodig and Andy Murray in stating that it’s dangerous to play.
Of course, all of this makes selecting bets something of a lottery and as the dial hit 42C again on Wednesday, so it’s set to be at least 40C on Thursday too and it’s case of who fares better in an oven rather more than tennis ability right now.
Rafa Nadal should have few problems getting past young Aussie sensation Thanasi Kokkinakis, against whom the Spaniard has practiced recently, so he knows a bit about the 17-year-old and Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Juan Martin Del Potro and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are also in action on a decent day’s play on Thursday. It’s tough to see any of those big names losing unless they have a heat meltdown, which seems unlikely, as most have late in the day or evening start times.
Andreas Seppi vs Donald Young - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 00.05 GMT
Playing a four-hour plus five setter against Lleyton Hewitt in hot conditions isn’t the best preparation for a second round match in Melbourne and although Seppi should have too much for The Don in this 11am local time start I doubt it will be easy.
Seppi has a real habit of long matches in slams and here in Melbourne he’s only won by three sets to love twice in his entire career stretching back to his first appearance in the main draw back in 2006. Those were against Harel Levy in 2008 and Horacio Zeballos last year – not the best of opposition.
Young has started to play well again after a real spell in the doldrums and took a set from David Ferrer last time out in Auckland. He only played three sets and a game in round one and was winning when Robin Haase retired so he should clearly be the fresher of the two.
The 1.36 on Seppi looks poor value, but the 1.74 about over 37.5 total games appears much better.
Benoit Paire vs Nick Kyrgios - BET and STREAM LIVE on Unibet TV from 08.05 GMT
At around 8am UK time on Thursday morning this pair of crocks will face off for the first time in what should be an unmissable encounter based on the personalities of the two players.
Paire has been struggling with a knee injury for some time and I wouldn’t go anywhere the 1.35 about the eccentric Frenchman against the ebullient 18-year-old Aussie in these circumstances.
The worry for Kyrgios backers is his dodgy shoulder, which hopefully won’t hold his promising career back, but it has to be a concern for his connections as it does tend to be a recurring problem at the moment.
Kyrgios certainly has the talent to take down a below par Paire – or even a fully fit one for that matter – and the 3.10 would be tempting were it not for that shoulder issue. Instead, I like the +4.5 games on the Aussie at 1.87, as bets will be void if either player retires.
Elsewhere, Kei Nishikori can’t be a sensible bet at 1.10 with his injury record after a five setter in the last round, while Blaz Rola has a shot as an underdog against Martin Klizan, who is here thanks to a lucky loser spot followed by a retirement.
Marin Cilic vs Gilles Simon - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 02.05 GMT
Cilic should be more than capable of taking advantage of Gilles Simon’s condition after the injured Frenchman went four-and-a-half hours on a bad ankle in the first round.
Cilic is short at 1.32 as a consequence, particularly when considering he’s never beaten Simon, but the 1.75 about the Croat minus 4.5 games on the handicap looks good with Gillou unlikely to be overly competitive.
Back over 37.5 games in Seppi/Young at 1.74
Back Kyrgios +4.5 games to beat Paire at 1.87
Back Cilic –4.5 games to beat Simon at 1.75