After a very good week indoors last week on the ATP World Tour things have been a little disappointing in Valencia and Basel so far.
Friday was another example of why I stopped betting on Alex Dolgopolov matches, as he brushed aside Marcel Granollers in another fine performance on serve from the Ukrainian.
One senses that a 6-1, 6-2 loss with half a dozen double faults and a first serve percentage of around 38% is just around the corner, but he’s cost me enough this week already so I’ll be skipping Dolgo’s match today – he's just impossible to predict.
There were a few bright spots yesterday in that I correctly identified David Goffin as too short against Jurgen Melzer, who defeated the Belgian in straight sets and similarly Grigor Dimitrov, who was beaten by Paul-Henri Mathieu to win one of my recommended bets.
On to Saturday’s semi finals then and starting in Valencia where tournament organiser David Ferrer takes on the surprise package of the week Ivan Dodig, who scored a big win over Marin Cilic yesterday.
That win is a huge boost to Dodig, who will find himself in the top-70 in the world rankings on Monday because of his results here this week and comfortably inside the cut off point for direct entry into the first round of the Australian Open.
So, in theory his work is done and he faces a tough task to go further against Ferrer, but don’t write him off as he has of course beaten Rafa Nadal on a hard court before (Rogers Cup 2011) and there’s no value in backing Ferrer at 1.15.
The Spaniard was beaten in the semi finals here last year after previously not dropping a set in the tournament and if Dodig can serve well today he can push Ferrer over the 20.5 total games mark at a price of 1.94.
I won’t be betting in the other semi between Melzer and Dolgopolov, but Melzer, having beaten Dolgo in Beijing recently is clearly the value pick in that one at 2.52.
In Basel, Roger Federer looks pretty certain to reach another Swiss Indoors final as he takes a 5-0 career record into his semi final against Paul-Henri Mathieu – a series in which Mathieu has won just one set in 14 contested.
Federer has lost just one of his last 32 matches in Basel and that was to Novak Djokovic and similarly to Dodig, Mathieu has achieved more than he expected this week and will surely be beaten in straight sets.
I can’t really see much of a value betting angle in this one either, save to perhaps take on the 1.87 about Mathieu winning with a 5.5 game start on the handicap.
The other semi final in Basel should be more competitive, with a jaded-looking Juan Martin Del Potro taking on Richard Gasquet for the sixth time in their careers and value seekers will be thinking about taking a chance on Gasquet today.
The Frenchman has had a good year and certainly has a shot today if Delpo starts as he did against Kevin Anderson yesterday, but it does depend on the Gasman bringing his most aggressive game to the court, which he doesn’t always do.
If he plays miles behind the baseline, as he has a tendency to do sometimes, he’ll lose today, as he has done in the last four meetings with Del Potro, but he has tended to play Delpo tougher on hard courts than on clay.
I think it’s worth taking on a big priced bet in this one and that is for Delpo to win 2-1 at around 3.80, as Gasquet should push him but I don’t trust Gasquet not to drop a 6-1 or 6-2 set, which puts me off the overs.
Best Bets: Back over 20.5 games in Dodig v Ferrer at 1.94; Back Del Potro to beat Gasquet 2-1 at 3.80.