Monday night’s advice of backing Nico Almagro early rather than later proved to be spot on, as the Spaniard raced into a two set lead over David Ferrer.
My best bet was in quick time when the opening set went over 9.5 games and yet again against David Ferrer the man from Murcia crumbled when in sight of victory, choking away his advantage, allowing Ferrer to come back in five.
Tonight’s action from the men’s draw in Melbourne Park sees Andy Murray take on Jeremy Chardy and the night match at 8.30pm UK time will be the 12th meeting between Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
In what should be relatively slow conditions in the coolest part of the day it’s hard to see Tsonga causing many more problems for the Swiss than he did when they last met in hard court majors – Federer won in three comfortable sets both times in New York and Melbourne.
Tsonga has improved his fitness under new coach Roger Rasheed, but for me Federer tends to struggle more against players who can return and defend well and I wouldn’t put Jo in that category or indeed Milos Raonic who Federer routined in the previous round. I take into account that Raonic was injured, but fully fit I doubt it would have been any closer.
Federer has made serene progress through the tournament this year and remarkably has only faced four break points so far – none of which have been taken.
Tsonga, for all of his shot making ability and crowd-pleasing antics is unlikely to create enough break point chances for this match to become close, so for me the bets to consider are all related to a reasonably comfortable Federer win.
There are plenty of options that appeal, including Federer -2.5 sets at 2.15 and under the total games mark of 38.5 at 1.77, but the bet I like in this one is for the match to finish in less than 150.5 total minutes at 1.87.
These two play pretty quickly and there won’t be too many long rallies, leading to fast set times. Even in the five set Wimbledon win of Tsonga’s in 2011 the match only lasted 188 minutes at an average of less than 38 minutes per set. I don’t see the match being played any differently on a hard court and at those sort of times it allows for four sets, which I doubt Federer will need.
Best Bet: Back under 150.5 total minutes at 1.87