*Please come back at around 6.30pm for the Djokovic/Ferrer Semi preview and betting option*
Novak Djokovic vs David Ferrer
Review of Round 1 Matches
|Player (Opponent)||Novak Djokovic (vs Paul-Henri Mathieu)||David Ferrer (vs Olivier Rochus)|
|Score||6-2 6-4 7-5||6-3 6-4 6-2|
|Time on Court||102 minutes||110 minutes|
|1st Serves in||49/77 (64%)||48/71 (68%)|
|1st Serves pts won||41/49 (84%)||37/48 (77%)|
|2nd Serve pts won||21/28 (75%)||15/23 (65%)|
|Break pts saved||3/3 (100%)||3/5 (60%)|
|Break points won||4/7 (57%)||6/15 (40%)|
Review of Round 2 Matches
|Player (Opponent)||Novak Djokovic (vs Ryan Harrison)||David Ferrer (vs Tim Smyczek)|
|Score||6-1 6-2 6-3||6-0 7-5 4-6 6-3|
|Time on Court||91 minutes||158 minutes|
|1st Serves in||41/56 (73%)||65/108 (60%)|
|1st Serves pts won||35/41 (85%)||48/65 (74%)|
|2nd Serve pts won||13/15 (87%)||24/43 (56%)|
|Break pts saved||0/0||7/10 (70%)|
|Break points won||6/13 (46%)||7/21 (33%)|
Review of Round 3 Matches
|Player (Opponent)||Novak Djokovic (vs Radek Stepanek)||David Ferrer (vs Marcos Baghdatis)|
|Score||6-4 6-3 7-5||6-4 6-2 6-3|
|Time on Court||142 minutes||117 minutes|
|1st Serves in||56/85 (66%)||54/85 (64%)|
|1st Serves pts won||48/56 (86%)||37/54 (9%)|
|2nd Serve pts won||19/29 (66%)||18/31 (58%)|
|Break pts saved||2/2 (100%)||3/5 (60%)|
|Break points won||3/11 (27%)||6/9 (67%)|
Review of Round 4 Matches
|Player (Opponent)||Novak Djokovic (vs Stan Wawrinka)||David Ferrer (vs Kei Nishikori)|
|Score||1-6 7-5 6-4 6-7 12-10||6-2 6-1 6-4|
|Time on Court||302 minutes||130 minutes|
|1st Serves in||129/195 (66%)||65/96 (68%)|
|1st Serves pts won||92/129 (71%)||45/65 (69%)|
|2nd Serve pts won||36/66 (55%)||15/31 (48%)|
|Break pts saved||11/18 (61%)||11/13 (85%)|
|Break points won||7/15 (47%)||7/11 (64%)|
Review of Round Quarter Final Matches
|Player (Opponent)||Novak Djokovic (vs Tomas Berdych)||David Ferrer (vs Kei Nishikori)|
|Score||6-1 4-6 6-1 6-4||6-2 6-1 6-4|
|Time on Court||151 minutes||130 minutes|
|1st Serves in||65/97 (67%)||65/96 (68%)|
|1st Serves pts won||51/65 (78%)||45/65 (69%)|
|2nd Serve pts won||20/32 (63%)||15/31 (48%)|
|Break pts saved||3/4 (75%)||11/13 (85%)|
|Break points won||6/14 (43%)||7/11 (64%)|
Summary: The dream semi final scenario for Novak Djokovic. He caught the lucky break of avoiding number 3 seed Andy Murray (for now), and although received a major scare against Stan Wawrinka, he certainly got things back on track against Tomas Berdych.
David Ferrer received an even bigger scare, having to break Almagro three times to stay in the match. Although it was an amazing effort, you have to admire Alamgro’s courage for fighting through the third and fourth sets with a torn adductor.
Djokovic leads 11-5 (10-1 on hard, with Ferrer’s only win coming in a round robin tournament)
Of those 10 tournament matchups, Ferrer has only won a set once, at the US Open last year in unbelievably windy conditions. The match was suspended toward the end of the first set, which was the only set Ferrer won. Once the match resumed, Djokovic dominated.
The Final Word
You simply cannot bet against Novak here. Ferrer I think is a little lucky to even be at this stage, as Almagro really should have finished him off on Tuesday.
Another concern I have regarding Ferrer are the comments he made in the post-match interview after his match vs Nishikori. He was asked if he could win a Grand Slam, and his response worried me. He talked himself down, and then preceded to put Djokovic/Murray/Federer/Nadal up on a pedestal in the process. Ferrer needs to take the next step, and a bit of positive self-talk wouldn’t go astray.
Excluding a meaningless round robin match, the fact that Ferrer has only taken 1 set off Djokovic on hardcourt (in cyclonic conditions) is terribly worrying. A few years ago, I would have mentioned here that it would be the returning ability, fitness and hustle that would keep Ferrer in this match. The crazy thing is that Djokovic has almost passed Ferrer in every physical and statistical category there is.
Ferrer doesn’t have the tools to hit winner after winner. It works well against the likes of Nishikori when they start gifting you errors, but against Djokovic is a different story.
When markets opened, I really liked the under 31.5 and under 32.5 game options for this match. Being patient, this line is now 33.5. Even better, Sportingbet have opened a ‘Match Winner and Total Games’ market for this match. The money has started to come strongly for the under, and they have brought that in to $1.85 for Under 33 games.
I will be incredibly shocked if Ferrer wins in under 33 games. If it is going under, it is going under in favour of Djokovic, so take the Djokovic win and under 33.5 games double at Sportingbet for $2. You get an extra 15 cents on your odds, and a half a game. It could end up being the difference.
Suggested Bet: Novak Djokovic to win and in under 33.5 games at $2 at Sportingbet
V. Azarenka (1) v S. Stephens (29)
In my initial review of the WTA draw, I marked Stephens as one to watch. Did I think she would be here in the semi-final? Honestly, no. Stephens is a young, talented player who showed plenty of promise in Brisbane and Sydney and I expected her to make an impact in 2013 but when the draw was announced it looked unlikely Stephens would get to the semi finals of the Australian Open with Robson, Jovanovski and of course, Serena in her path which was a huge ask. But here she is, after downing the clear tournament favourite in 3 sets yesterday. in the 2013 Australian Open Semi Final.
While I’m really pleased for Sloane to get this far and I don’t want to take anything away from the great tennis she has played over the last week-and-a-bit, we really need to think about how Sloane has got to this point. Stephens has so far faced an injured Robson, an erratic Jovanovski (who crumbled in the first set) and an injured Serena. I’m not suggesting Sloane has had an easy run (even an injured Serena is tough to beat!) but I think it’s worth pointing out that her challenges so far have not all been 100% (but that’s tennis).
On the flip side we have Azarenka who comes off a win yesterday vs Kuznetsova 7-5 6-1. While Azarenka got off to a slow start yesterday in the first set, she clawed her way back to take it 7-5 which I think really shows her mindset here in the Australian Open. Winning a major is a difficult task in tennis, but perhaps even more difficult is keeping it – and I think Azarenka showed yesterday that she is here to try and do just that and she’s willing to fight as hard as she can to achieve this.
Sloane Stephens has done a great job to get to this point, but Azarenka’s drive, experience and class will prevail here.
Suggested Bet: Azarenka -5.5 @ $1.80 (Sportsbet)
N. Li (7) v M. Sharapova (2)
Limited for time, so I’m going to keep this one short and sweet.
While there is a good chance I will personally stay away from this match, no doubt questions will be asked on Twitter about what I like here so I’ll give you my quick thoughts.
Sharapova has been playing some good tennis. While at times not convincing, she has still not dropped a set yet and has only given away 8 games (in 5 matches). Very impressive.
Li comes off an good win over Radwanska but as outlined in my Li/Radwanska writeup, I still have some concerns over Li’s unforced errors. Somehow Li managed to beat Radwanska despite her 40 unforced errors (to Radwanska’s 21). Sharapova will have none of that and if Li keeps these kind of stats up Sharapova has the quality to finish this match off quickly.
Suggested Bet: Under 20.5 games @ $1.80 (Luxbet)