Djokovic looked well below his best yesterday but nevertheless made his way past Mannarino to set up a quarter final clash with Berdych, a man that he holds a 25-2 record against. Federer takes on Raonic for the second year in a row while Murray will face off against the big serving Sam Querrey. In the final matchup Nadal’s conqueror Gilles Muller takes on Cilic who is yet to drop a set.
Andy Murray v Sam Querrey
Murray was under pressure for the second consecutive match and The Wolf says that we will again see him under the pump – this time against Querrey. The defending champion is content with playing defence from behind the baseline and it is a very dangerous formula against a big server that has the ability to hold serve with ease. Murray may hold a 7-1 advantage over the American but The Wolf can see cracks in Murray’s arsenal. Andy was dominant in their most recent meeting at the Australian Open earlier this year but on that occasion Querrey won just 52% of points behind his 1st serve. The American has won in excess of 80% of points behind his first ball this tournament and Wolfy is expecting him to reach at least 75% in this clash. He has thundered down 99 aces through 4 matches while Murray has had his troubles on serve. Paire and Fognini each broke him on 3 occasions and if Querrey can match that number he will be winning at least one set. In prior matchups Querrey has had success hitting inside out forehands into the Murray backhand. In doing so he has been able to stretch him and force him into hitting slice backhands on the run. By closing into the net the American has had easy put away volleys so look for him to employ that tactic throughout the match. If Querrey can grab the first set this one could get very interesting.
Best: Over 36.5 games ($1.80)
Value: 1st Set Correct Score 7-6 ($2.60)
Gilles Muller v Marin Cilic
When The Wolf made Cilic his one and only bet to win this quarter at $4.50 and tipped him as his value bet to win the tournament at $21 people were quick to question him. Now, thanks to Muller’s match of a lifetime the Croatian will virtually stroll into the semi’s. Lets take nothing away from Muller’s win over Nadal but that 5 hour marathon and emotional roller coaster will take it’s toll. Cilic has won both meetings between them including their most recent encounter two weeks ago at Queen’s. He needed 3 sets in that one but The Wolf says it should have been far more comfortable. Cilic went just 2 of 13 on break points and any improvement on that will see him win this in straight sets. The former US Open champ is yet to drop a set in the tournament and has been completely dominant. He has broken his opponents serve at least 4 times in each of his 4 matches this week for a total of 19 breaks of serve! Unlike Nadal, we will not see Cilic camp 5 metres behind the baseline to return serve. He will be right up on the baseline in order to minimise Muller’s effectiveness at the net. The Wolf says a Muller win here would be a bigger shock than his win over Nadal!
Best: Cilic -4.5 ($1.80)
Value: Sets Cilic 3-0 ($2.25)
Tomas Berdych v Novak Djokovic
The performance of Djokovic against Mannarino has left a lot to be desired. Up 6-2 3-0 it looked like the curtains were ready to be drawn but Novak decided to go into a shell – hitting slice backhands and a stack of lollipops which allowed Mannarino back into the match. The tiebreak which followed would cost us the Under by half a game and his overall performance must be concerning. He took painkillers for a headache, had treatment several times on his shoulder and made several complaints about the state of the court. He was on edge and it showed in his tennis. He became very subdued, had a high amount of unforced errors (24 in 3 sets) and looked like a player lacking both confidence and belief. Also, lets not forget what Thiem did to him at the French! This is not the Novak of 18 months ago and negative tennis will not work against Berdych. The Czech is winning 84% of first serve points with a winner to unforced error ratio of 2.2. The Wolf is the first one to admit that it is hard to look past Novak’s 25-2 record over Berdych but he cannot ignore what he has seen from the Serbian in recent months. The last 18 sets contested between the pair have had at least 9 games with double break margins a rarity when these two meet. One of the Berdych wins in fact came here back in 2010 when he made the final and The Wolf says the door is open for him to repeat that feat. Have to have something on Berdych at the price!
Best: Berdych +4.5 ($2.05)
Value: Berdych WIN ($4.20)
Milos Raonic v Roger Federer
Six months ago it was unknown if Federer would make a successful return to the tour. Fast forward and he is not only back, he is in ‘BEAST MODE’ – and the capitals are most definitely required. The Wolf told us he would be at his best against Dimitrov and he certainly was, putting on a clinic. He is yet to drop a set in the tournament and has made a tough draw look easy. Federer leads the H2H 9-3 but it is Raonic who has won the last two including their clash here in the semi’s 12 months ago. On that occasion Raonic was at the peak of his powers and combined a super aggressive style with some amazing finesse at the net. He had 75 winners for the match and managed to save 8 of 9 break points. Both men won less than 30% of points on return and that makes it awfully hard to break serve. The Canadian is not in the form he was in last year while Federer is completely in the zone. That being said, with Raonic such a dominant player on serve we are sure to see the players trade breakers in this match. Federer is far too short at the price but we can get some value backing him to win in four sets.
Best: Over 40.5 games ($1.91)
Sets: Federer 3-1 ($3.60)