It wasn’t a great night of betting in Melbourne last night, as my wager on Philipp Kohlschreiber went down to an inspired performance from Milos Raonic. The big Canadian improved markedly on anything he’s shown lately and once he edged the first set on a breaker the German’s resistance crumbled.
It was a good night for favourite backers apart from those on Juan Martin Del Potro, whose loss to my pick from the previous round, Jeremy Chardy, would have downed a few accumulators. Tonight’s men’s schedule isn’t one to get too excited about and the only value that stands out to me is to take a chance on Kei Nishikori causing more problems for David Ferrer than the layers expect him to.
Kei has the game to match Ferrer as he has proven in the past, and if he’s fit – and it’s always a big if with Nishikori – he can certainly push the Spaniard. It wouldn’t shock me if the Japanese player was to win this one.
I was courtside for their New York match back in 2008 and although Ferrer has improved since then, you would have to say that Nishikori has too. This pair are quite similar in their style of play and it’s led to some close matches over a head-to-head series that Nishikori leads 2-1. For me the clear bet in this one is to take Kei with a 2.5 set headstart at around 1.73.
Ferrer was too solid for Marcos Baghdatis in round three, but the Cypriot was far from his best. Baghdatis had his moments but struggled with consistency and Ferrer once ahead always looked likely to seal it in three. Nishikori returns serve well and can match Ferrer for foot speed, plus he can hit winners and has variety in his game. Ferrer will have to be near his best to win this and I think 4.70 is a bit big on Nishikori today.
I always have big concerns about Kei’s injury status, as he does have a glass body and breaks down more often than a 1970s Austin Allegro. But if he’s in the right shape he’s well capable of making this close.
Best bet: Back Nishikori +2.5 sets to beat Ferrer at 1.73