Friday was an excellent day at the 2012 US Open Championships with all three of my advised bets proving successful. The first winning wager was a comfortable handicap success for Maria Sharapova, who brushed Mallory Burdette aside for the loss of just two games.
In the boiling hot cauldron of Arthur Ashe Stadium Burdette was unable to hold serve more than once as the unforgiving world number three bludgeoned the young American to defeat and covered the 7.5 game handicap with something to spare.
Hot on the heels of that win came an overs success on the expected marathon encounter between Lleyton Hewitt and Gilles Muller.
The Aussie had to scrap hard to avoid going down two sets to love, but he refused to buckle in familiar style and the match went all the way to the predicted five sets before Hewitt took it after more than four and a half hours.
At around the same time Alex Dolgopolov and Marcos Baghdatis were going at it on Court 17 and Dolgo brought us a clean sweep by eventually winning in four sets of a roller coaster affair.
Saturday’s play in New York features Roger Federer, Andy Murray, and Serena Williams as the top draws but I’ll be starting off on Court 17 where a long battle will surely take place between Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic.
These two have met three times in the past, the most recent two on hard courts, and Kei has a slender 2-1 lead overall.
They met here two years ago in round two when the Japanese player sneaked through in five sets and whoever takes this will surely need to go to at least four and possible five again as they are pretty closely matched.
That’s not good news for Cilic, as he has played two five setters already this tournament and that’s why Nishikori is favourite today, having had by far the easier ride to reach this stage.
A bet on Nishikori to win 3-1 or 3-2 could be in order, but unless Marin is exhausted from his earlier efforts I would be confident of this one going over the 39.5 games mark at 1.75
James Blake has been enjoying a bit of a renaissance here this week, but I think this match up with Milos Raonic today won’t be to his liking.
Blake has a problem with big servers because his return game can’t cope with it as his losing record against Ivo Karlovic (3-7), Andy Roddick (3-11), John Isner (0-2) and Raonic (0-1) shows.
This one could well go over the total games mark as well, but the 1.60 about Milos taking this match with a handicap of -1.5 sets looks like the call to me, as I can’t see Blake winning two sets today.
And I like a similar bet in the match between Tomas Berdych and Sam Querrey that takes place last on Louis Armstrong Court tonight.
Many fancy Querrey for this, but I think this match-up favours the Berdman, who is just showing signs of a bit of a return to form at the moment.
These two played in Winston-Salem a week or so ago and Berdych was too classy for Querrey that day, creating 18 break point opportunities in just two sets against the big serving American.
I don’t think that Querrey’s variety-free ball bashing is going to get the job done against Berdych and it’s not as if Sam has a plan B to go to if that doesn’t work.
Again, I can’t see Querrey taking more than a set here at best, so the 1.60 about Berdych -1.5 sets on the handicap at 1.60 looks a bet to me.
Best Bets: Back over 39.5 games in Nishikori vs Cilic at 1.75; Back Raonic -1.5 sets to beat Blake at 1.60; Back Berdych -1.5 sets to beat Querrey at 1.60.