Ernests Gulbis

Serena Williams (above), happy after obliterating Victoria Azarenka last night.

Well, in short, yes.  But as the betting type, we feel that some sort of case can be made for Mardy.  Mind you, not with our money, but farbeit from us to stop you from taking an American flyer on this rainy Sunday.  Before Jo-Wilfried Tsonga packed it in last night with an injured forearm, in the games he won, he followed an interesting blueprint which is probably the best way to attack the new king.  Basically, he did just that–he attacked the new king.  He struck serves at 140 mph, second serves that kicked up into the body at 110-115 mph, used his big forehand to push Djokovic beyond the baseline, and then got to the net.  Now the more than casual fans out there are probably worried about that game plan for Mardy, knowing his forehand is not in Tsonga’s league.  But as we are all probably sick of Killer Cahill at this point, he did make an excellent point about last night’s match, when he suggested that Tsonga had a real problem in backhand to backhand rallies with Djokovic, and that he should try to avoid those rallies, and be content to not lose points on that wing.

Fish is a backhand player, and his 2-hander, while safe, is much better than Tsonga’s.  If you’ve been watching the Olympus Series, you have to know that Ernests Gulbis outhit Fish on that wing at the finals in LA.  Gulbis is a high risk player, and he tees off on that backhand like he’s the second coming of Marat Safin.  But Fish wins that match if he doesn’t turn his ankle, nontheless, because his game is so solid and steady these days.  For guys in the top ten, aside from Djokovic’s all time great 2-hander, Fish’s is probably best.  Which is why Djokovic has had so much “trouble” with Fish in the past.

You think we’re crazy.  Fish is 0-6 for the career against Djokovic, and in his one matchup with the hulked up super invincible new Novak, he got steamrolled 6-1, 6-3 in Miami.  The record is actually a little worse than that, because in that 0-6, not counted was another loss suffered by Fish for America against Djokovic at Hopman Cup.  Here are the bright spots for Fish though.  That Defensepro tacky rubber courts in Miami are total shit.  Those courts are the tackiest, worst, slowest hardcourts in the world, even worse than Plexicushion, and they play slower than the red clay at Hamburg and Roland Garros.  Fish is a very good fast court player, and Montreal is playing very quickly.  Djokovic, playing unreal, obviously, is still a way better slow hardcourter, and really has not won much on fast hards, aside from one YEC.

That’s all about to change, obviously.  But Fish has earned his bread here by going backhand to backhand himself, by packing in to the net, and by outlasting guys.  He made 30 trips to the net against Tipsarevic (still looking for his first ever tournament victory at the age of 27, if you could believe that), and he totally broke down Wawrinka, whose beautiful one handed backhand usually holds up very well, even on clay, which is his best surface.  Fish has always played well on moderate hardcourts against Djokovic, nearly beating him twice at Indian Wells, and in their matchup at Hopman Cup.  Fish even administered a bagel to the Djoker once upon a time at Indian Wells, and has made two masters finals so far, one at Indian Wells versus Djokovic, and one last summer on the ultra quick track at Cincinnati, losing to Roger.

So we don’t like Fish here, considering him about the equivalent of a lamb before the slaughter, but at these prices, and considering that it is highly unlikely that Djokovic not lose a few matches this year at some point, and that he also entered the doubles this week, maybe you might want to put a few units on Mardy today and then pray like the Dickens.

Rogers Cup Masters 1000 Series Final — 3 PM EST (Montreal)


Djokovic:  – 1200

Fish:  + 600


Serena:  – 360
Stosur:  + 280


Lady S looked best last night when the odds makers believed in her least.  She dusted Azarenka last night, who came out hard, but went out with a wimper.  Simply put, she is the shizz.  Serena is now 14-2 in her comeback, and today she goes for her first 1000 level win since coming back.  The hard part of the week, Azarenka, is behind her.  But Stosur is a tricky opponent for Serena, who is 2-3 lifetime versus the godess, which is more success than most have had.  We don’t care.  We like Serena in the spot.  We can go with the excuse posse, but why would we?  Serena played all night matches, Serena played too much tennis too soon, Serena is due for a letdown, blah blah blah.  Serena is here to win.  This may be the most unfavorable matchup she’s had since her return, but matchups bother her a lot less than mere mortals.  Plus, Stosur has been known to come up very small in the big spot.

Serena, by our math, moves up to 28/29 with a win today.  What a summer!  Has anyone ever seen a guy play so out of his mind like Djokovic, and a girl go from 180 to 28 in 3 weeks?  We’ve watched for a long, long time and these things, we’ve never seen.

Crack (,

Rafael Nadal (above) after stunning 3 set upset, suffered at the hands of Croat comer Ivan Dodig.  For Nadal, who was outplayed, it was the first time losing in the 2nd round of a Masters 1000 level event since 2008 (Rome, Juan Carlos Ferrero), and the first time doing so on North American soil since 2007 (Cincinnati, Juan Monaco).

Rogers Cup — Mens Masters 1000 Series (Montreal)


12:00 PM


Tomas Berdych:  – 275

Ivo Karlovich:  + 185

1:00 PM


Stanislas Wawrinka:  – 200

Kevin Anderson:  + 150

2:00 PM


Novak Djokovic:  – 900

Marin Cilic:  + 500

4:00 PM


Janko Tipsarevic:  – 180

Ivan Dodig:  + 130

5:00 PM


Mardy Fish:  – 175

Ernests Gulbis:  + 125

5:30 PM


Victor Troicki:  + 110

Gael Monfils:  – 150

7:30 PM


Roger Federer:  – 275

JW Tsonga:  + 185


Richard Gasquet:  – 200

Nicolas Almagro:  + 150


Rogers Cup — Women (Toronto)


1:00 PM


Andrea Petkovic:  + 150

Petra Kvitova:  – 200


2:00 PM


Roberta Vinci:  + 200

Ana Ivanovic:  – 300


MJ Martinez Sanchez:  + 250

Victoria Azarenka:  – 400


3:30 PM


Maria Sharapova:  – 600

Galina Voskoboeva:  + 400


Vera Zvonareva:  – 150

Agnieszka Radwanska:  + 110


7:00 PM


Serena Williams:  – 1200

Jie Zheng:  + 600


Francesca Schiavone:  – 185

Lucie Safarova:  + 135


This old Nike ad (above) offers a familiar sentiment about Lady S that she is once again obliterating.


Bank of the West Classic Final — 3 PM EST


Serena:  – 500

Bartoli:  + 350


Farmers Classic — 5 PM


Fish:  – 220

Gulbis:  + 170


Last night during Erakovic/Cibulkova on TTC, Lindsay Davenport, excited about the main event to come on ESPN between Serena Williams (victorious above) and Sharapova, talked it up a little bit over some video of Sharapova ferociously shadow hitting backhand after forehand in rapid fire succession.  Davenport explained that Serena had already been put through some rigorous steps by her people to prep for the match, and now Sharapova was doing the same thing.  When the coverage began on ESPN, Patrick McEnroe, Mary Joe Fernandez, and Brad Gilbert echoed the same sentiment.  They said that both players were treating the match more like a “Grand Slam final”, that they uncharacteristically spent an inordinate amount of time in what they called hard warmups compared to their normal routines, and that the atmosphere out at Stanford was completely electric.

Then the match started.  So much for the questions about Serena and where she was in her comeback.  So much for any hype surrounding the match.  So much for Sharapova who had seemed to reclaim her form of old.  Because Serena stormed out of the gate, winning a stunning first 5 games on Sharapova’s serve, and locking up the first set in what seemed like 5 minutes, en route to a 6-1, 6-3 easy breezy victory over the world #5, that might have been even more lopsided than the score line.

Serving to the world #169 (we know that’s outrageous and obviously on the mend), Sharapova’s achiles heel once again became apparent.  Against Hantuchova Thursday, Sharapova threw in 11 double faults, and added another 7 last night.  In a completely embarrassing display, Sharapova won only 12 points on her 1st serve in the entire match.  And what had become a rivalry several years ago when an unexpected blonde 17 year old dusted Serena in the Wimbledon final, is now decidedly far from it. 

Serena is now 7-2 lifetime versus Sharapova and has not lost in the series in almost 7 years.  The ticky tack blue Plexicushion surface which both players have won majors on, played like lightning.  Even on a coolish night.  Finally.  Serena, looking for her 1st final since last year’s Wimbledon, will take on Sabine Lisicki under similar conditions tonight.

Here are the odds for today’s matches:

Serena:  – 320

Lisicki:  + 240


Cibulkova:  + 140

Bartoli:  – 180


Fish:  – 600

Harrison:  + 400


Bogomolov:  + 170

Gulbis:  – 220


From what we saw last night, we love Serena and Gulbis today.

Crack (,


Bank of the West Classic — Quarter-finals (11 PM EST)


Serena Williams:  – 150 (wager 150 units to win 100 units plus initial wager)

Maria Sharapova:  + 120 (wager 100 units to win 120 units plus initial wager)


Serena leads the series 6-2 and has not lost on a hardcourt to Sharapova since the end of 2004 (indoors).  That said, Sharapova seems to have it together lately, putting up a big spring and making the Wimbledon final.  We always root for Serena when she’s not playing big sis, but we might be thinking Masha looks good right here as a dog.  Serena looked good here Thursday, straighting Kirilenko 6-2, 6-3 to open, while Hantuchova gave Sharapova a stiff 2nd round encounter that obviously went to Sharapova, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.  Both players could be a bit distracted out in Cali, with all that both  have going on.  Tonight’s winner will play Sabine Lisicki, playing great tennis, in the semi-finals.  Serena is looking for her 6th win in only her 9th match since returning to the tour from her cut foot and the life threatening complications.  Sharapova is 33-7  on the year and has won at Rome and semi-finaled at Roland Garros, losing to eventual champion Na Li.


Farmers Classic — Quarter-finals (Los Angeles, 10:30 PM)


  Del Potro:  – 700

Gulbis:  + 450


Crack (,

Impressive young American Ryan Harrison, who once again bulled his way through qualifying, with Pistol Pete Sampras (above).

There are some very interesting matchups, as well as odds, for Day 2’s action at The Championships.  Take a look at the odds and our thoughts, below:

Ivan Dodig:  – 275

Ryan Harrison (USA):  + 185


Alexander Dolgopolov:  – 400

Fernando Gonzalez:  + 250


Grigor Dimitrov:  – 225

Cedrik-Marcel Stebe:  + 165


Nicolas Almagro:  – 180

Jarkko Nieminen:  + 130


John Isner:  – 250

Nicolas Mahut:  + 175


Kei Nishikori:  – 110

Lleyton Hewitt:  – 130


Bernard Tomic:  – 180

Nikolay Davydenko:  + 130


Ernests Gulbis:  + 175

Dimitry Tursunov:  – 250


Frank Dancevic:  – 500

Ricardo Mello:  + 300


Andreas Seppi:  – 225

Albert Montanes:  + 165


Wozniacki:  – 5000

Parra Santonja:  + 1500


Medina Garrigues:  + 165

Goerges:  – 225


Kerber:  – 200

Robson:  + 150


Falconi:  – 175

Dubois:  + 125


Jankovic:  – 300

Martinez-Sanchez:  + 200


We didn’t know much about Ivan Dodig, to be honest, until we saw him play a few very sensible grass court matches last week.  Still, we see young Texan Ryan Harrison as a special player to be, and we like his recent work, most notably, a big win against a very hot Milos Raonic at Indian Wells.  We’d take Harrison, who is looking for his 1st win on European grass (he had a couple of wins in Rhode Island last July).  We like Gonzo as a big underdog.  Dolgopolov has underwhelmed on specialty surafaces, and though it’s hard to know how well Gonzo has healed from his knee problems, he is a big time player with an immnse serve and forhand when right.  you know we love our one hander Grigor Dimitrov, especially in this matchup with a relative unknown.  Dimitrov has progressed very well in the last year, and a win tomorrow would be a nice step for him.  Giant John and Mahut set to rumble again.  Mahut is a kid we just love because he has a great attitude, great hands, and plays the right way.  But we’ll take Isner.  Neither guy has much of a return game, which hurts Mahut more against the 6’9 ace machine.  Japan’s finest, Kei Nishikori, against former champ Lleyton Hewitt…hard to tell how right Hewitt is, but he’s a fighter.  Keep that in mind.  Welcome back to high level tennis for Dimitry Tursunov, who had 3 major ankle surgeries in the last 2 years.  Against Gulbis, we should see some giant groundstrokes, and not much holding back.  Would be a great win for either guy.  We have always loved 1-handed Canadian Frank Dancevic, a heavy favorite tomorrow.  Good luck to James Blake against Baggy…he’ll need it, and he desperately needs a win and some confidence. 

On the ladies side, we think Caesar’s is crazy to put such a ridiculous number on Caroline Wozniacki.  We’re taking APS and the plus 1500.  It girl, flavor of the month, talk of the villages, Julia Goerges, is such a slight favorite over AMG…can it be right?  Just another shining example of how weak the women’s game is.  We’d love to Laura Robson, the young Brit, come through.  American youngster Irina Falconi, who has perhaps played 1 or 2 good weeks of tennis is her young career, is favored tomorrow.  We’re skeptical.  We love Martinez Sanchez, probably the best lady Spaniard on grass, and think she will give Jankovic, whom we despise for her gutless, hack style, much trouble.  And though not listed above, we like Radek Stepanek a lot at (+ 150) for an upset special over Cahill’s special boy, Fernando Verdasco.

Nice parlay opportunities tomorrow with the dogs.  If you want to get crazy, go Parra Santonja, Harrison, Martinez-Sanchez, Verdasco, and Gonzo.  A 5 unit wager on that combo would pay out 5,985 units should the stars align.  And please remember that we like certain bets, but don’t necessarily believe they will come in.  That’s why it’s gambling, kids.  May as well try to win big if you are going to play.

Crack (,

Alexander Dolgopolov:  + 10000

Andy Murray:  + 600

Andy Roddick:  + 3000

David Ferrer:  = + 15000

David Nalbandian:  + 10000

Ernests Gulbis:  + 10000

Fernando Verdasco:  + 15000

Gael Monfils:  + 10000

Ivo Karlovic:  + 10000

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga:  + 3000

John Isner:  + 5000

Juan Martin Del Potro:  + 2000

Jurgen Melzer:  + 15000

Lleyton Hewitt:  + 15000

Marcos Baghdatis:  + 15000

Mardy Fish:  + 8000

Marin Cilic:  + 8000

Michaael Llodra:  + 15000

Mikhail Youzhny:  + 15000

Milos Raonic:  + 4000

Nikolay Davydenko:  + 15000

Novak Djokovic:  + 275

Rafael Nadal:  + 200

Richard Gasquet:  + 6000

Robin Soderling:  + 3000

Roger Federer:  + 225

Sam Querrey:  + 12500

Stanislas Wawrinka:  + 12500

Tomas Berdych:  + 3000

Field (Any Other Player):  + 5000

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