It’s been another profitable week for my tennis advice with the Treble/Patent winning at just over 5/1 earlier in the week and Wednesday’s Over 23.5 games bet landing comfortably at Evens. Both my tournament selections fifth seed Nadal at 10/3 and sixth seed Nishikori at 25/1, are also still in action at the ATP Madrid Masters, which is now down to the quarter final stage.
Nadal faces world number 35 Joao Sousa today (unseeded this week) and you may remember I tipped Sousa at 50/1 to win the Valencia Open towards the end of last year, which he duly did landing one of my biggest ever tournament winners. They’ve met once before on the ATP Tour at Rio de Janeiro on clay back in 2014, which was a very one sided affair which Nadal won 6-1 6-0. I expect today’s encounter to be closer but, on current form Nadal, should progress to tomorrow’s semi-finals without too much drama.
Nishikori will face off against young gun Nick Kyrgios for a place in the semi-finals today and this will be their third meeting on the ATP Tour. Nishikori leads the head-to-head 2-0, with both his wins coming on hard courts, first at the Miami Masters this year 6-3 7-5 and at the 2015 Shanghai Masters 1-6 6-4 6-4. While Kyrgios is likely to push Nishikori close again today, it’s safe to say the Japanese number one seems to have the measure of the fiery young Aussie at present and he should prevail again on this occasion.
Top two seeds Novak Djokovic and defending champion Andy Murray are both still in with a shout of winning the title this week. Djokovic faces 11th seed Raonic, who he has never lost against in six matches to date. Djokovic is looking in great form so far this week and Raonic is going to need to produce arguably his best ever performance if he is going to progress to the semi-finals today.
Three of their previous six encounters came on clay and the last two, at the Rome Masters and 2014 French Open, were close affairs, featuring three tie breaks. With Raonic’s booming serve and aggressive ground strokes proving to be even more potent in the altitude of Madrid, it’s likely this encounter will be another close affair and thus I advise playing the Over 21.5 Games line at 7/8.
Andy Murray faces another real test of his title credentials today, in the shape of eighth seed Berdych, and their head-to-head currently stands at 7-6 to Murray. Murray is the clear favourite to progress to the semi-finals but they have met three times on clay and Berdych has won all three, including a 7-6, 6-4 win here in the 2013 Madrid Masters.
The quick conditions at Madrid suit Berdych’s game well and he will no doubt come out and look to attack and put Murray on the back foot from the off. Murray has been far from convincing this year, or this week and with question marks surrounding his confidence and composure, I think this is a good time to take him on and lay him on the exchanges at around 1.4 with an eye on cashing out if Berdych gets in to a winning position, such as going a set and break up in a deciding set or a mini-break up in a deciding set tiebreak.