The last of the men’s quarter finals are scheduled for Wednesday at the 2017 Australian Open when the semi finalists from the bottom half of the draw will be decided.
A disappointing performance from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ensured a poor day for our bets on Tuesday when the Frenchman faded away after looking all set to level his match with Stan Wawrinka in set two.
And I was left to regret passing on the under 32.5 games in Roger Federer’s clash with Mischa Zverev, as the Swiss maestro eased past the German in good style in straight sets.
We have two quarter finals on Wednesday that should be closer than the ones we saw on Tuesday, with two bruising encounters likely.
Milos Raonic vs Rafael Nadal
The layers have Nadal as favourite for this ninth main level career meeting with Raonic and I agree with that assessment, but I’m expecting a tough match for both men here.
Each showed their vulnerability on Monday in their round four matches, with Nadal almost taken the distance by Gael Monfils and Raonic rather fortunate to beat Roberto Bautista Agut in four sets.
When Monfils finally showed up for his match with Rafa in the third set he was able to get on top of the Spaniard with some heavy, attacking hitting and Nadal will encounter more of that on Wednesday from Raonic.
And Raonic was outplayed for long spells of his clash with RBA, but proved the better in the key moments, with his serve coming to his aid on several occasions.
‘No tie break’ backers at a big price were unlucky again in that match, with Raonic letting slip a 4-1 lead in set one to go to a breaker and the 4.5 about none against Nadal appeals too.
The pair have played just two in 19 main level sets against each other and Nadal’s 32.6% service break stats could well ensure that there isn’t one again.
At the very least 4.50 seems a big price about there not being one and 1.68 about under 1.5 tie breaks looks decent too.
This match has the feel of a long one; a bit of an up and down affair, with Nadal not able to keep up his best level for as long as he used to and that famous forehand breaks down more now than it did in his heyday.
He’s also not quite as speedy around the court and he doesn’t defend as amazingly as he used to, but the Spaniard is still tough to put away, as Alexander Zverev discovered (again).
Raonic had a fever earlier in the tournament and perhaps isn’t quite at his best physically (when is he these days?) and it would have been interesting had RBA been able to take a 2-1 lead against the Canadian.
It’s Nadal who has the better stats on outdoor hard courts over the past year, with a total of 114.7 (82.1% holds/32.6% breaks), with Raonic on 109.3 (89.6% holds/19.7% breaks).
But it was the Canadian who won their clash in Brisbane by two sets to one (again, no tie breaks) less than three weeks ago, but Raonic will find conditions on Rod Laver Arena at night slower than there and he’s yet to play on Laver, so it’s advantage Nadal in that sense.
I can see this one going the distance and over 4.5 sets or over 183.5 minutes are the ones of interest here, with under 1.5 tie breaks also likely, but perhaps a tad short in price.
So, it’s the over 4.5 sets at 3.20 for me in what’s a tricky one to call.
David Goffin vs Grigor Dimitrov
This one also looks set to be a tight one, with both men coming into this match in fine form and there may be a little bit of value on underdog Goffin here.
Dimitrov is often priced up too short and 1.56 appears skinny again and especially with the Belgian having better service hold/break numbers over the past year on outdoor hard than Dimitrov.
It could be argued that Dimitrov was rather fortunate in his fourth round match against Denis Istomin, with the latter hitting the wall physically after a fine start that could have seen him go two sets up.
Goffin was impressive on a warm day against Dominic Thiem and he has a decent shot at making a maiden Grand Slam semi final in his second main level career clash with Dimitrov.
The pair have met four times before at all levels and Dimitrov has won all four, but two of those were at Futures level and a third at Challenger level – all on clay years ago – so not really relevant to this upcoming match.
Dimitrov was a 1.3 chance in the only main level match he’s played against Goffin and that was in the 2014 US Open when Goffin won the opener on a bagel, but couldn’t keep his level up on a very hot and humid day.
Goffin’s serve has improved since then and he was very good in that department against Thiem, hitting 15 aces, and if he serves that well again and the weather isn’t too hot (and the forecast says it won’t be) I give the Belgian every chance.
I could see this one going long as well, but at 2.43 I’m prepared to take a chance on Goffin, whose 81.8% service holds and 27.7% breaks (109.5 total) on outdoor hard at main level over the past year give him the edge on Dimitrov who’s at 107.1 (83.3% holds/23.8% breaks).
The Belgian’s hold percentage is up on his 77.3% career average in these conditions, which backs up the idea that his serve is improving, while his return stat is pretty much the same.
I’m not sure these odds today have fully taken that into account and the underdog is the wager for me.