It’s been an excellent opening week of the 2012 US Open with plenty of winning wagers and an overall profit to a £10 stake of £62.40 in the first seven days of the tournament.
It was another two winners from my three bets yesterday, with Marion Bartoli coming back from a slow start to thrash Petra Kvitova and John Isner’s five set loss to Philipp Kohlschreiber went way past the total games mark.
Unfortunately, Alex Dolgopolov decided not to turn up and hit 49 unforced errors in one of his too regular shabby performances against Stan Wawrinka, but that’s the gamble with Dolgo.
The fourth round matches begin today at the Billie Jean King USTA Tennis Centre and last year it was a good round for favourites, with seven from eight men’s odds-on shots winning and six of eight on the women’s side.
One favourite who should prevail and quite possibly with a bit to spare is Marin Cilic, who takes on surprise package Martin Klizan for the first time in their careers today.
Cilic has a fine record against lefties, winning the last seven in a row and he can boast a career mark of 33-16, which equates to a winning percentage of 67% against southpaws.
Klizan has never prior to this tournament achieved anything on hard courts and has generally avoided the quicker surfaces as much as possible, plying his trade largely on clay, but he has some excellent scalps already in New York with wins over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Alejandro Falla and Jeremy Chardy.
But this is a great opportunity for Cilic to reach his first Grand Slam quarter final since Melbourne in 2010 and his first here in New York since 2009 and I can’t see him allowing Klizan to get in his way.
The big Croatian has lost just one of his last 19 matches against players ranked at number 51 or lower (to Lleyton Hewitt at the Olympics) and one of his last 20 against left handers of that rank.
I expect Cilic to finish this in three or maybe four sets, so I’m going with under 40.5 games at 1.62
The next favourite that should progress into the quarter finals is Tomas Berdych, who faces Nico Almagro for the 10th time in total and the fourth on a hard court.
These two have never been the best of pals, so it might involve a bit of needle and I expect Berdych to prevail in these relatively quick conditions.
Neither of these players has ever made it to the last eight in New York, which is disappointing from Berdych’s perspective, but this is a good opportunity to put that right and progress to a likely meet with Roger Federer in the last eight.
Almagro will surely make this tough for Berdych though and I’m happy to take the over 162.5 total minutes as my bet in this one at a price of 1.87.
Finally today I’ll take on a treble involving Cilic, Ana Ivanovic and Angelique Kerber, which if successful will pay around 1.95.
Ivanovic is coming into some decent form at the moment and despite being capable of the odd absolute shocker, such as her double bagel at the hands of Roberta Vinci in Montreal, she should have too much weaponry for Pironkova on a hard court.
The Bulgarian seems only able to trouble top class players on grass and her forehand is still pretty poor, plus this is her first time ever in the fourth round of a hard court major and so experience is against her too.
Her record on hard courts is pretty abysmal, with this tournament being the first time she’s won three matches in a row at a tour level event on hard since Stockholm in 2007.
Kerber could have perhaps a trickier time of it against the in-form Sara Errani and the Italian did beat the German in their last meeting at Roland Garros.
That was on clay of course and I would expect Kerber to turn things around on hard as she did at the start of the year when she beat Errani comfortably in Hobart.
Errani has improved a lot since that meeting and this match could be quite close, but Kerber’s extra firepower should see her through to the quarter finals.
Back under 40.5 games in Klizan v Cilic at 1.62
Back over 162.5 total minutes in Berdych v Almagro at 1.87
Back Ivanovic, Kerber and Cilic in a treble at 1.95