It was one winner from my two bets on Saturday as the men’s third round matches were completed in the 2013 French Open.
I said yesterday that the ‘new’ Benoit Paire was a little less combustible than had previously been the case, but he went right back to type on Saturday morning when he lost to Kei Nishikori in four sets. The Frenchman lost the plot amidst a hail of broken racquets and went nuts when a penalty point was awarded against him at set point in the second set, at which point the referee was called on to the court. It didn’t exactly help Paire, who let himself down emotionally again.
There was much better news in the second match I focused on yesterday, when Mikhail Youzhny was a comfortable straight sets winner over Janko Tipsarevic. The Russian played excellently and remained unbroken throughout the match. This one also featured a meltdown – this one from Tipsarevic who swore at some members of the crowd in a mini-rant.
Sunday sees the opening fourth round matches takes place, and Gilles Simon will be desperate to do better on home soil against Roger Federer than he did in an appalling display in Rome, where these two met recently.
I’m not convinced that he’ll manage it though. While he began his rivalry with Federer by winning the first two matches they contested, Simon has struggled to draw the errors from the Swiss in recent times. He also has a poor record here: this is only his second appearance at this fourth round stage. The pressure seems to get to him, not only here but when representing France in Davis Cup too.
Federer, meanwhile, will have no such worries and I can only see the Swiss winning this encounter with enough to spare to cover a minus 7.5 game handicap at a price of around 1.65
The match between Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Viktor Troicki should go the way of the Frenchman, but not perhaps as easily as odds of 1.10 suggest. Myself and plenty of other judges quietly fancied Jeremy Chardy to do some damage against Tsonga, but he didn’t show up. Troicki, though, could certainly push Tsonga today – at least for a while – given the improved form he’s shown lately.
They have shared their six previous meetings, with Tsonga winning the two on clay. His extra power will probably tell in the end, but I like Viktor to take this one over the 35.5 total games mark after a fine victory over Marin Cilic in the last round.
Back Federer –7.5 games to beat Simon at 1.65
Back over 35.5 total games in Troicki vs Tsonga at 1.87