Welcome to day 10 of the Australian Open. We are getting to the business end now, but with that being said, there are a few very tricky matches on the radar.
Here is the first play of the day. Note the lower confidence compared to other plays before considering.
Federer -5.5 @ $1.90 (Sportingbet)
Azarenka -5.5 @ $1.82 (Luxbet)
Roger Federer vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Playtime: Wednesday Night
Review of Round 1 Matches
|Player (Opponent)||Roger Federer (vs Benoit Paire)||Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (vs Michael Llodra)|
|Score||6-2 6-4 6-1||6-4 7-5 6-3|
|Time on Court||83 minutes||106 minutes|
|1st Serves in||44/69 (64%)||60/85 (71%)|
|1st Serves pts won||37/44 (84%)||49/60 (82%)|
|2nd Serve pts won||15/25 (60%)||15/25 (60%)|
|Break pts saved||3/3 (100%)||2/2 (100%)|
|Break points won||6/12 (50%)||4/8 )50%)|
Review of Round 2 Matches
|Player (Opponent)||Roger Federer (vs Nikolay Davydenko)||Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (vs Go Soeda)|
|Score||6-3 6-4 6-4||6-3 7-6 6-3|
|Time on Court||119 minutes||123 minutes|
|1st Serves in||62/91 (68%)||58/100 (58%)|
|1st Serves pts won||47/62 (76%)||48/58 (83%)|
|2nd Serve pts won||19/29 (66%)||24/41 (57%)|
|Break pts saved||0/0||3/4 (75%)|
|Break points won||3/13 (23%)||3/4 (75%)|
Review of Round 3 Matches
|Player (Opponent)||Roger Federer (vs Bernard Tomic)||Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (vs Blaz Kavcic)|
|Score||6-4 7-6 6-1||6-2 6-4 6-1|
|Time on Court||118 minutes||79 minutes|
|1st Serves in||66/95 (69%)||49/69 (71%)|
|1st Serves pts won||58/66 (88%)||37/49 (76%)|
|2nd Serve pts won||13/29 (45%)||13/20 (65%)|
|Break pts saved||1/1 (100%)||4/5 (80%)|
|Break points won||3/16 (19%)||7/9 (78%)|
Review of Round 4 Matches
|Player (Opponent)||Roger Federer (vs Milos Raonic)||Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (vs Richard Gasquet)|
|Score||6-4 7-6 6-2||6-4 3-6 6-3 6-2|
|Time on Court||113 minutes||58/106 (55%)|
|1st Serves in||50/78 (64%)||140 minutes|
|1st Serves pts won||45/50 (90%)||47/58 (81%)|
|2nd Serve pts won||21/28 (75%)||27/48 (56%)|
|Break pts saved||0/0||6/7 (86%)|
|Break points won||3/7 (43%)||4/9 (44%)|
Summary: Another cracking match on the Rod Laver Arena stage. I find it hard to believe that Ivan Lendl and Andy Murray were angry that the decision was made to put Tsonga/Federer as the night match over Murray vs Chardy, but each to their own.
Monday night was the first time I have witnessed Roger Federer live in the flesh for a few years, and I couldn’t help but be incredibly impressed with how we approached the match. To be able to break Raonic 3 times is impressive in itself, but it was the way he was returning in general that impressed me. He wasn’t just getting the ball back across the net, he was turning defense into offence, and doing it against 220+km/h bombs!
174 points were played on Monday night in the Federer vs Raonic match. Federer hit 12 unforced errors to go with his 34 winners. That is great tennis, especially against a top 20 player. That impressive set of numbers goes with just the 20 unforced errors in 216 points in the Tomic match.
Tsonga has made his way through to the quarter finals having only dropped one set, and that was to Gasquet on Monday. The worrying stat for Tsonga was the high unforced error rate. He went at 1 winner to 1 unforced error vs Gasquet, something that will need to change if he is to be any chance vs Federer tonight. There was never a moment in the match against Gasquet where I thought Tsonga was going to lose, but there were a few moments where he looked particularly sketchy on serve. A classic case of this was in the first set. I have never seen a player dominate a first set as much as Tsonga did, and still almost lose it. He struggled to capitalise on a number of 0-30 situations on the serve of Gasquet. Then, when serving at 5-4, dug himself a 0-40 hole. Some big serves and Gasquet errors helped him out of it, but it is still concerning.
Besides being quality opposition, how else do the matches against Bernard Tomic and Milos Raonic help Federer? He has had two matches to adjust to the night conditions on Rod Laver Arena. Don’t think that playing in the day time is the same as playing the night. The conditions can vary quite considerably, and all you need to do is look at the comments from Andy Murray in the last 24 hours regarding scheduling at the Australian Open
Head to Head
Federer leads 8-4 (6-2 on hardcourt)
– No meeting since November 2011
– Tsonga beaten Federer on hardcourt once since September 2009
Since 2004, players who had played Roger Federer whilst Roger Rasheed has been coaching them have gone 1-16, so it is hard to see how Rasheed brings anything to the table tactically. While I have commented on Tsonga’s improved fitness level, that is only part of the story in the tennis game.
In the last 5 years, Roger Federer has played 7 hardcourt Grand Slam quarter final matches against top 12 players ranked below him. In those 7 matches, Federer holds a head to head record of 6-1, with the one loss coming to giant-killer Berdych at the US Open. Of the six wins, he covered the -5.5 games handicap offered tonight all 6 times. 2 of those matches have gone to 4 sets, yet still covered.
The Final Word
I just cannot go against the Fed Express here. At no point in the tournament has he looked anywhere close to having his serve broken on a consistent basis. I think the conditions suit Federer here, and after all he is one of the best night tennis players you will see. Tsonga does love the big stage, but I think Federer will get the jump on Tsonga and won’t look back.
Suggested Bet: Federer -5.5 is the go here for me.
V. Azarenka (1) v S. Kuznetsova (71)
Kuznetsova has returned to the WTA circuit in 2013 better than ever with some hard fought wins over some quality players in the first 4 rounds of the Australian Open. In 2012, Kuznetsova surcumed to a leg injury that forced her to miss a large part of the season however throughout Sydney and here at the Australian Open, Kuznetsova has shown that that injury is fully recovered and she is back to playing some great tennis.
Kuznetsova’s next major challenge is a big one as she comes in to face number 1 ranked Victoria Azarenka. Azarenka comes of the back of a 6-1 6-1 victory over in-form Elena Vesnina that look less than an hour to complete (57mins). While Azarenka has had an easy run up until this point, one of the most impressive things she has shown is her lack of mercy towards most opponents with all but 1 game ending in 2 sets and in under 17 games (the only exception to this was Jamie Hampton who pushed Azarenka to 3 sets).
Head to head, Kuznetsova leads Azarenka 4-3 however 5 of those 7 meetings were in 2007/08/09 and the question is – is Kuznetsova still the same player? Of the 2 more recent meetings in 2012 Azarenka has won both (6-1 6-2 and 7-6 6-4).
This match is hard to find any value in as Azarenka is a clear favourite and most markets appear correct. I think the best value bet here is Azarenka -5.5 @ $1.82 (Luxbet). While I expect Kuznetsova to put up a good fight, Azarenka has shown a killer instinct that should see this match end with Azarenka keeping Kuznetsova to only a few games.
Suggested Bet: Azarenka -5.5 @ $1.82 (Luxbet)
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk.
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Photo By Mike McCune from Portland [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons