An impressive performance from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga brought down my handicap wager on Richard Gasquet in the men’s singles in Melbourne last night. As has been the case a few times this fortnight, Gasquet was unable to take enough of his many break point chances – this time it was one from seven.
Tonight sees the start of the quarter-finals and for many this is where the tournament begins. The first men’s match of the night on Rod Laver Arena is the all-Spanish affair between Nico Almagro and David Ferrer at around 2am UK time.
Almagro really has his work cut out if he’s going to make it to a Grand Slam semi-final for the first time in his career. Indeed, this is Nico’s first ever major quarter-final on a hard court and this is surely where the journey ends for the man from Murcia. The head-to-head is an amazing 0-12 in Ferrer’s favour and my concern with Almagro, particularly in this match-up, is that he’s not a big game player; he tends to go away meekly when he knows he’s beaten.
An example can be found in the seven times that he’s lost the final set of a match to Ferrer by a scoreline of 6-2 or worse. This leads me away from Almagro on the games handicap market and towards the total games markets. In many of their meetings Almagro has been in with a chance early on and seven times he has either won the opening set or pushed Ferrer to 7-5 or 7-6. I think it’s a wiser option to bet on Almagro early rather than risk a loss on the match as a whole.
The world number 11 has been serving well in this tournament and only Milos Raonic has more aces. If he can keep that sort of serving up it will help him make a good start tonight. The over 10.5 games in the first set is certainly an option at 3.60, but the over 9.5 games at 1.87 looks the best bet in this one.
Best bet: Back over 9.5 games in set one of Almagro vs Ferrer at 1.87