Well, Tuesday was a day where despite getting the right results, our bets were ultimately unsuccessful.
Roger Federer had to go the full five sets against Juan Martin Del Potro after a slow start and some brutal hitting had given Delpo a 2-0 lead, before the leg started to play up again and Fed cruised the final sets once he’d taken the third. And over on Philippe Chatrier, Novak Djokovic was made to go the distance by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after appearing to be in total control for a set and a half.
So, a disappointing day in the end, but we have another two men’s quarter finals to look forward to today and the next episode in Andy Murray’s French Open 2012 campaign. The Scot’s tournament has had it all so far, with the real condition of his back total guesswork to everyone bar Murray and his team.
We’ve seen some brilliant tennis at times from him which has led to the fist pump, but that’s been followed by a miss that has preceded a clutch of the back. It’s all in a day’s work for seasoned Murray watchers. Today he takes on the mighty clay court road runner himself, David Ferrer, and Murray had better be fit if he has intentions of winning this one.
I must admit that I was firmly of the notion that Murray should quit this tournament when he couldn’t move against Jarko Nieminen, but he’s made it to the last eight and his reward is to run around for three or four hours against Ferrer. The Spaniard leads 3-0 in their clay court clashes and the only way Murray can win this is to be aggressive from the word go and strike his ground strokes as he was for a while against Richard Gasquet.
In that scenario he could win this match in three or four sets, but I really can’t see it. I think we’ll get the cat and mouse Murray, which will play into Ferrer’s hands. Murray hasn’t beaten a top-10 player on clay for three years and I don’t think he will today either. My best bet in this one is for Ferrer to win with a handicap of minus 1.5 sets at around 1.9.
The other quarter final is very tricky to find a decent value wager in and that is Nico Almagro against Rafa Nadal. Almagro has the thankless task of facing a man who has dropped just 19 games all tournament so far and the same opponent that he’s faced on both of the two previous occasions that he’s made the last eight here.
He did at least push Rafa close in that 2010 French Open meeting and the man from Murcia is in the best of form coming into this. Almagro has won 20 sets in a row on clay now and although it would be incredibly optimistic to think that he could spring a surprise today he does at least have some weapons that can hurt Nadal, if only for a while. People are falling over themselves to hand Nadal the title, but he hasn’t faced anyone with the kind of power and shot making ability that Almagro possesses so far in this tournament.
As ever, the only problem with Almagro is between his ears and he needs to believe that he can win this match despite the 0-7 head-to-head record. Almagro likes to bully his opponents and he can’t do that against Rafa, who gets too many balls back in play, which ultimately forces Nico into mistakes. Nadal should win this of course, but this should be by far his biggest test of the fortnight so far and I’ll trust Almagro to cover the 8.5 game handicap at around 1.80
Best Bets Back Ferrer to beat Murray -1.5 sets at 1.9; Back Almagro +8.5 games to beat Nadal at 1.8