Welcome to the second week of the Australian Open! The first week absolutely flew by, with some big upsets and some epic matches served up for us. You couldn’t help but be on the edge of your seat last night as Novak Djokovic was tested by Stanislas Wawrinka. It is a shame that so much will be said about the chair umpire and THAT decision at 4-4 in the fifth set, but it truly was an amazing match.
Here is the main play for this afternoon. Follow @Ace_TheProfits to be updated on if a confirmed play will be sent out for Federer/Raonic later this afternoon.
Kuznetsova over 11.5 games @ $1.68 (Sportsbet)
Tsonga -2.5 games at $1.79 at Sportsbet
Federer -5.5 games at $1.83 at Sportsbet
Roger Federer vs Milos Raonic
Playtime: Monday Night
Review of Round 1 Matches
|Player (Opponent)||Milos Raonic (vs Jan Hajek)||Roger Federer (vs Benoit Paire)|
|Score||3-6 6-1 6-2 7-6||6-2 6-4 6-1|
|Time on Court||145 minutes||83 minutes|
|1st Serves in||67/107 (63%)||44/69 (64%)|
|1st Serves pts won||55/67 (82%)||37/44 (84%)|
|2nd Serve pts won||25/40 (63%)||15/25 (60%)|
|Break pts saved||4/5 (80%)||3/3 (100%)|
|Break points won||4/15 (27%)||6/12 (50%)|
Review of Round 2 Matches
|Player (Opponent)||Milos Raonic (vs Lukas Rosol)||Roger Federer (vs Nikolay Davydenko)|
|Score||7-6 6-2 6-3||6-3 6-4 6-4|
|Time on Court||108 minutes||119 minutes|
|1st Serves in||52/81 (64%)||62/91 (68%)|
|1st Serves pts won||45/52 (87%)||47/62 (76%)|
|2nd Serve pts won||17/29 (59%)||19/29 (66%)|
|Break pts saved||2/3 (67%)||0/0|
|Break points won||5/8 (63%)||3/13 (23%)|
Review of Round 3 Matches
|Player (Opponent)||Milos Raonic (vs Philipp Kohlschreiber)||Roger Federer (vs Bernard Tomic)|
|Score||7-6 6-3 6-4||6-4 7-6 6-1|
|Time on Court||112 minutes||118 minutes|
|1st Serves in||56/86 (65%)||66/95 (69%)|
|1st Serves pts won||46/56 (82%)||58/66 (88%)|
|2nd Serve pts won||23/30 (77%)||13/29 (45%)|
|Break pts saved||0/0||1/1 (100%)|
|Break points won||2/4 (50%)||3/16 (19%)|
Here we have another interesting matchup on Rod Laver Arena. Roger Federer has had arguably the most difficult run of the top seeds coming through the first three rounds. Comfortable straight sets wins against Benoit Paire, Nikolay Davydenko and Bernard Tomic (tested, but still straight sets).
Raonic started slowly round one, losing the first set, but since then has reeled off 9 straight sets on his way to the 4th round. He is serving well, but his unforced error counts are still a little bit of a worry.
All the form of the first three matches is above for all to see, but there is more to form than just the last few matches, or their recent meetings.
I want to go back and look at two grand slam matches from Raonic that have occurred in the last 12 months that have been prime time matches. The first was Raonic vs Lleyton Hewitt in the 3rd round last year. Raonic didn’t cope well at all with the pressure of night tennis on Rod Laver Arena. Although he started well by taking the first set, it was all Lleyton from there, cruising through in 4 sets.
The other match was Raonic vs Andy Murray at the US Open. A similar scenario, and Raonic found himself a broken man, defeated 6-4 6-4 6-2. This included serving at over 70% of first serves in: his biggest weapon. Raonic tends to go off the boil a bit against the big guys on the big stage.
Raonic isn’t a significantly better returner than anyone Federer has faced already, so you’d imagine that Federer would have no trouble holding serve for the majority of the night. Federer however is a far better return of serve than anyone Raonic has faced. Fed will make Raonic play on his serve as much as possible, and has the weapons on both wings to be able to get the job done passing Raonic when he finds himself at the net.
As I tweeted last night, Raonic has actually taken the first set in each of the three previous meetings, before going on to lose. He has also won 20 of his 23 career grand slam first sets. For those who like trends like that and think it will continue, you can grab a piece of the $4+ for Raonic first set winner.
Personally, I’m taking the -5.5 games for Federer. Raonic has kept it close in their 3 previous meetings. But this is grand slam tennis. This is on the big stage. This is high pressure tennis.
Suggested Bet: Federer -5.5 games at $1.83 at Sportsbet
Richard Gasquet vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Playtime: 3rd on Rod Laver Arena
Review of Round 1 Matches
|Player (Opponent)||Richard Gasquet (vs Albert Montanes)||Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (vs Michael Llodra)|
|Score||7-5 6-2 6-1||6-4 7-5 6-3|
|Time on Court||96 minutes||106 minutes|
|1st Serves in||41/68 (60%)||60/85 (71%)|
|1st Serves pts won||36/41 (88%)||49/60 (82%)|
|2nd Serve pts won||17/27 (63%)||15/25 (60%)|
|Break pts saved||0/1 (0%)||2/2 (100%)|
|Break points won||6/10 (60%)||4/8 )50%)|
Review of Round 2 Matches
|Player (Opponent)||Richard Gasquet (vs Alejandro Falla)||Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (vs Go Soeda)|
|Score||6-3 6-2 6-2||6-3 7-6 6-3|
|Time on Court||100 minutes||123 minutes|
|1st Serves in||40/69 (58%)||58/100 (58%)|
|1st Serves pts won||32/40 (80%)||48/58 (83%)|
|2nd Serve pts won||18/29 (62%)||24/41 (57%)|
|Break pts saved||1/2 (50%)||3/4 (75%)|
|Break points won||6/13 (46%)||3/4 (75%)|
Review of Round 3 Matches
|Player (Opponent)||Richard Gasquet (vs Ivan Dodig)||Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (vs Blaz Kavcic)|
|Score||4-6 6-3 7-6 6-0||6-2 6-4 6-1|
|Time on Court||145 minutes||79 minutes|
|1st Serves in||63/112 (56%)||49/69 (71%)|
|1st Serves pts won||55/63 (87%)||37/49 (76%)|
|2nd Serve pts won||24/49 (49%)||13/20 (65%)|
|Break pts saved||3/5 (60%)||4/5 (80%)|
|Break points won||5/13 (38%)||7/9 (78%)|
Summary: France vs France on a Monday afternoon on Rod Laver Arena.
Gasquet leads the head to heads 4-3, however they have not played each other since 2009. What makes this matchup even better is the fact that both players are in sensational form, coming into the tournament on solid winning streaks. They did however both come in with clouds over their health, but that has since been knocked out of the park with some solid early round performances.
Although it appears that Tsonga has had an incredibly easy run to the 4th round, he has been tested in parts. He found himself down 3-5 0-30 on Soeda’s serve in the second set, before reeling off 6 straight points to get the break back and went on the win the set in a tiebreak.
Gasquet found himself down a set and a break to Dodig, before wrestling back control and breaking the spirit of Dodig, taking the fourth and final set 6-0. He has been playing some great tennis, although he has been digging himself into wholes at times on his serve. If he wants to be a chance, he will need to serve a lot better.
The Final Word
Tsonga is one of those players who genuinely could win a Grand Slam, he just needs to peak at the right time. I personally think Roger Rasheed has got him peaking here. All those hours practicing in the heat of Perth in the off-season will benefit Tsonga greatly this afternoon. He thrives on this type of match. Fourth round, Rod Laver Arena, and a potential QF meeting with Roger Federer.
Gasquet has done what he generally does at Grand Slam level, work his way through the early rounds of the tournament fairly comfortably. He has reached the 4th round 14 times. The interesting stat here is that Gasquet has only won one 4th round match in his career, which isn’t the best record going around. The only win came against Tsonga, back when Tsonga was a wildcard at the 2007 Wimbledon, arguably Gasquet’s best surface.
I really like Tsonga here. They have both been playing some superb tennis, but in this situation I think Tsonga is more match-hardened at this point of Grand Slam tennis. He has the runs on the board, and you know that whenever Tsonga plays in Melbourne, that the crowd get behind him.
The crowd and the imposing figure of Tsonga across the net will be too much for Gasquet here.
Suggested Bet: Tsonga -2.5 games at $1.79 at Sportsbet
Wozniacki v Kuznetsova (First on Rod Laver Arena)
After a disappointing start to 2013 with early exists in both Brisbane and Sydney, everyone (myself included) thought Wozniacki was in for a tough time at the Australian Open. Well Wozniacki come out and has proven to everyone that while she might have faltered in the minor lead up lead up matches – she’s appears to want to perform when it matters – with some solid tennis over the first 3 rounds of the Australian Open. Wozniacki has only dropped 1 set so far which was the very first set of her Australian Open campaign versus Georges.Kuznetsova has had a great run too, similar to Wozniacki she has only dropped 1 set which was in her previous match versus Suarez Navarro.Wozniacki and Kuznetsova recently met in the 2nd round at Sydney (8th Jan 2013) where Kuznetsova won 7-6 1-6 6-2. In their last match, Kuznetsova was serving at 56% (first serve) with 3 aces and 3 double faults. In the last week Kuznetsova is averaging 67% (first serve), 4 aces and 0.3 double faults.What does this mean? Well it looks like Kuznetsova is only on the improve.
While Wozniacki has played some good tennis over the last 3 rounds, Kuznetsova should really put up a good fight here. Rather than going for the Kuznetsova H2H though (which is certainly possible and is value), I’m going to suggest a safer play which is Kuznetsova over 11.5 games.
Suggested Bet: Kuznetsova over 11.5 games @ $1.68 (Sportsbet)
Photo By Christopher Johnson (globalite) (originally posted to Flickr as IMG_8683) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons