Yesterday I wrote that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had the opportunity to push Roger Federer close in their French Open quarter-final, but I wasn’t expecting the result that actually transpired.
I was pleased with the opening set and confident that the overs would prove a good bet after Tsonga came from 2-4 down to grab it, but Federer was awful by his standards and the next two sets passed the Swiss maestro by, as he was crippled by errors from both wings, along with some dreadful volleying when he came to net.
In all it was a three out of 10 performance from Federer and about a seven or eight from the Frenchman, but it was enough and Tsonga goes forward to face David Ferrer in the semi-finals.
But that’s for tomorrow and Wednesday’s quarter-final line-up features defending champion Rafa Nadal taking on another Swiss, Stan Wawrinka, whose chances depend largely upon the amount of rest he’s managed to get after his five set marathon with Richard Gasquet on Monday.
Stan was sporting a substantial strapping on his thigh even before the Gasquet match and it seems highly unlikely that he’ll be in a position to put the brakes on the Nadal juggernaut that seems to be gaining in momentum in this second week of the tournament.
The Spaniard’s performance against Kei Nishikori was an improvement upon previous efforts so far at the 2013 French Open. The weather has turned for the better with a warm, sunny day expected in Paris on Wednesday, which helps his topspin forehand.
Rafa seems to always play better in the sunshine. Having taken down Wawrinka to the tune of 6-2, 6-4 in quicker conditions at altitude in the Madrid final last month, it seems unlikely that a physically below par Swiss number two will be able to change things around in his favour.
The 9-0 head-to-head to Rafa and 19-0 in sets tells the tale of how difficult it is for a right-hander with a single handed backhand to beat Nadal on clay – or other surfaces come to that. Stan’s will have to fire, like it did against Gasquet for most of this match, if he’s to have any chance.
It’s tough enough to redline it when you’re fit, let alone after a four hour plus, physically and emotionally draining match the previous round. This one will likely be done in less than 32.5 games at a price of 1.87.
I’m pulling for Stan in this one and I hope I’m wrong, but I can’t objectively make much of a case for the Swiss today unless he has the day of all days and hits winners for fun all match, which is something akin to hoping for a miracle against Rafa here at his spiritual home.
Best Bet: Back under 32.5 games in Wawrinka vs Nadal at 1.87
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