There was more than a hint of misfortune about last night’s wager on the men’s draw in Melbourne. Sam Querrey and Stan Wawrinka played out the expected tight match and had Querrey seen out set one – a set in which he won more points than his opponent – the overs wager would surely have come in. Small margins indeed, but such is tennis.
Today’s men’s line-up features the usual heavy odds-on favourites, such as Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Juan Martin Del Potro. All should win, but you won’t get rich backing any of them except perhaps in set betting.
But a match I do like the look of from a value point of view is the clash between Milos Raonic and Phillip Kohlschreiber. I fancy the German to cause a minor upset here at odds of around 2.10.
Kohlschreiber has been in much the better form of the two players so far this year and it took a good performance from David Ferrer to deny the German the title in Auckland prior to this tournament. This will be the first meeting between the pair, but Raonic’s results must be a concern for his backers, the Canadian having been beaten by Fabio Fognini, Lleyton Hewitt and Grigor Dimitrov already in 2013.
Admittedly, the first two were in an exhibition, but Raonic’s form hasn’t really improved much since arriving in Melbourne. He dropped a set to Jan Hajek first up before beating one hit wonder Lukas Rosol.
Kohlschreiber has a good record against tall players, with 9 wins from his last 12 matches against players taller than 6’4”. Indeed, he should have beaten John Isner in two of those matches that he did lose, but choked at the vital time.
I’m not sure that this slow-medium outdoor hard really suits Raonic that much and his return game is still really poor, which puts pressure on his serve. With temperatures set to be relatively cool in Melbourne on Saturday I feel that conditions and the match-up will suit Kohlschreiber better than his opponent.
Best bet: Back Kohlschreiber to beat Raonic at 2.10