Kei Nishikori


Novak-Djokovic-Australian-Open-2012-ChampionNovak Djokovic (above), the prohibitive favorite to threepeat in Melbourne.

Men’s

Alexandr Dolgopolov

+15000

 

Andy Murray

+250

 

Bernard Tomic

+5000

 

David Ferrer

+2500

 

David Nalbandian

+25000

 

Fernando Verdasco

+20000

 

Gael Monfils

+15000

 

Gilles Simon

+25000

 

Janko Tipsarevic

+15000

 

Jerzy Janowicz

+6000

 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

+3000

 

Juan Martin Del Potro

+1200

 

Kei Nishikori

+10000

 

Kevin Anderson

+50000

 

Lleyton Hewitt

+50000

 

Marcos Baghdatis

+10000

 

Marin Cilic

+15000

 

Milos Raonic

+5000

 

Nicolas Almagro

+25000

 

Novak Djokovic

-160

 

Richard Gasquet

+10000

 

Roger Federer

+400

 

Ryan Harrison

+25000

 

Sam Querrey

+25000

 

Stanislas Wawrinka

+25000

 

Tomas Berdych

+3000

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

Ladies’

Agnieszka Radwanska

+1000

 

Ana Ivanovic

+6000

 

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

+10000

 

Andrea Petkovic

+10000

 

Angelique Kerber

+2000

 

Caroline Wozniacki

+3000

 

Daniela Hantuchova

+20000

 

Francesca Schiavone

+25000

 

Jelena Jankovic

+12500

 

Julia Goerges

+15000

 

Kaia Kanepi

+10000

 

Laura Robson

+8000

 

Maria Kirilenko

+15000

 

Maria Sharapova

+700

 

Marion Bartoli

+6000

 

Mona Barthel

+10000

 

Na Li

+2000

 

Nadia Petrova

+15000

 

Petra Kvitova

+1000

 

Sabine Lisicki

+6000

 

Samantha Stosur

+2500

 

Sara Errani

+12500

 

Serena Williams

-120

 

Shuai Peng

+25000

 

Sloane Stephens

+15000

 

Svetlana Kuznetsova

+15000

 

Venus Williams

+5000

 

Victoria Azarenka

+300

 

Yanina Wickmayer

+50000

……….

Juan Martin Del Potro (foreground) holding the one major trophy in his possession which he won from down two sets to one versus Roger Federer (background) at the US Open in 2009.

Azarenka:  – 290

Radwanska:  + 230

______________________________________________________

Wozniacki:  – 140

Clijsters:  + 120

______________________________________________________

Del Potro:  + 260

Federer:  – 340

______________________________________________________

Djokovic:  – 900

Ferrer:  + 600

______________________________________________________

Murray:  – 1200

Nishikori:  + 750

______________________________________________________

Berdych:  + 300

Nadal:  – 400

______________________________________________________

Makarova:  + 325

Sharapova:  – 450

______________________________________________________

Errani:  + 650

Kvitova:  -1000

………..

Let’s start at the top.  Radwanska has improved a great deal in the last year.  We’ve been impressed, and have begun to view her in a bit of a different light.  She still has severe limitations in terms of the weaponry, and almost went home very early when Mattek-Sands stepped to her in round one.  The two played an epic first set breaker which Sands took 12-10, but then Sands peetered out.  That’s the rightful outcome.  Radwanska has the better body, better speed and footwork, and the better overall game.  But even on this slower than clay, disgusting blue Plexicushion, the American got to net and dominated up there and with her touch, for about an hour and twenty minutes.  That is Radwanska’s blueprint for victory, after all.  We highly doubt that’s happening against Azarenka, who will probably end this year as the world #2.

Azarenka is mauling people.  She can get everything back that Radwanska can, and she can also hit winners off the forehand and generate offense with her first serve.  She is winning a major in the near future, and she is winning this match tonight, though we aren’t betting against Kvitova this week.  Azarenka may have second claim to the next few majors, but Kvitova is the best player in the world right now, bar none, and she has first dibs.  We are kicking ourselves right now for not taking her in the pre-tournament phase at + 250, but more on her later.  Azarenka has taken 5 of the last six in the head to head with Radwanska, does everything better, stronger, and with a little flair.  We hate negative money lines, but even so, Azarenka is money in the bank at -290.

We are not Clijsters fans, hate the counter punch style, hate the belly fat, the pasty skin, the hairy neck, the whole deal.  But we respect her.  She is the defending champion here, and will be until she no longer is.  And not a sprained ankle, not 4 MP’s for Li Na, none of it makes a difference until she loses.  For that matter, we are still waiting for her to lose at the US Open, where she has quite a match streak going.  Did we respect the recent track record?  No.  But you can throw it out the window with Clijsters because she has stepped on the court and out of oblivion and won majors before and very few people have done that.  That said, as far as Belgians go, we’d take Henin and her beautiful style over Clijsters ugly grunt work.  But tonight, Clijsters is more beautiful than Wozniacki when it comes to tennis.  She is 2-0 lifetime versus Wozniacki, who, we’ll mention again, is nothing if not over-rated.  But maybe the ankle bothers Clijsters and maybe Wozniacki is going to outrun her tonight, but we’ll believe it when we see it.  We don’t like taking injured tennis players, so we aren’t touching this one, but Clijsters is gonna be tough out no matter what, and we’d even like to see her win because Wozniacki hasn’t earned her ranking.

Speaking of injuries, Roger has played some good tennis, hasn’t he?  But we actually don’t like him too much in this spot.  Remember, we always look for the positive money lines, and we don’t like injuries in one on one contests.  Also, the image of Del Potro, all the way back, and taking Nadal to 5 sets on very slow clay this fall in Davis Cup looms large.  This guy is a big time player.  He has the power to hit through this awful, gritty, tacky, gross court.  And he gives Roger lots of trouble when on, like he did in the SF at RG in 2009 and in the Final of the USO in 2009.  Del Potro is a better player than Tsonga and Berdych, the guys who took Roger out in major quarter-finals.  We are playing Del Potro tonight, and we’d say if he wins, he will have a better shot against Nadal than Federer would in the semi-final.

The other matches don’t excite us.  We think Berdych might be worth a lark at + 300 but really, we can’t see him winning.  Betting against Djokovic would be suicidal.  Kvitova as well.  Makarova may have a little shot.  She also may suffer a letdown.  And Murray seems too strong for Nishikori.  We shall see.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

The great man and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in civilian clothes (above).  Tomorrow they will get to meet again in the finals of the Masters 1000 Series Paris Indoor Final.  Recall that Tsonga dealt Federer his first loss ever after leading a in a major by two sets to love in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.  Then Roger completely blitzed Tsonga in straights under the lights at Flushing with clinical precision, in 3 fairly easy sets.

It looked all week as if the matchup for tomorrow would have been anything but these two.  Federer has Murray on his side of the draw, who has had a stellar indoor season, putting considerable distance between his newly won world #3 ranking, and Federer, now world #4, and over a thousand rankings points behind the Scot.  But Murray didn’t have the pop yesterday that beating Tomas Berdych in a slugfest required.  Then Federer abused Berdych this morning, playing ultra clean tennis, dominating on serve, and at net on his few trips in, and controlling the match with the Federer forehand circa 2005–the lights out laser beam.  Berdych had taken 3 of the last 5 matchups with Federer coming in to the morning’s action, and Federer has seemed at a loss against Berdych to match the big man’s power.  Today Berdych seemed spent, as he did barely get out alive versus Murray, in a match where the big man did lots of running for the full 3 hours, give or take.

Not so today.  Federer won in decisive fashion–the kind of tennis that makes you go ‘oooh’–ripping 34 winners to the Czech’s 16.  Federer flashed the brilliance last week in winning Basel for the 5th time in 6 years, but let’s be real.  Nishikori in the final was a gift from the Gods.  Nishikori had defeated a weary Novak Djokovic, in what was only his 3rd loss of his astounding season.  Djokovic, after a tough match with countryman Victor Troicki, then forfeited prior to squaring off with Tsonga due to a recurring shoulder injury that nagged at him all summer.

Tsonga then got to face American giant John Isner today, and in what was a highly entertaining match, Tsonga fought off 3 match points on his way to a very narrow victory, taking the 2nd and 3rd sets in tie-breakers.  A tough loss for the American, no doubt, who seemed to tighten up at 5-6 in the third, with a few looks on MP’s at Tsonga second balls.  Tsonga would love to take home the hardware here in front of the home crowd, no doubt, but Federer is incredibly hot, once again peaking heading into the YEC.

Federer just seems to have a lot of jump, power, and precision indoors, on windless courts where he is spiking first serve after first serve.  Federer is now 9-0 on the indoor circuit this season.  Here are the odds, at current, for the morning final:

9:00 PM EST

_____________________

Roger Federer:  – 360

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga:  + 280

………..

Federer is 5-3 lifetime versus Tsonga.  They’ve met once indoors in Madrid (2008), in which Federer won in a waltz.  Should Roger win tomorrow, he will have won two tournaments in a row for the first time since November 2010 (YEC)/January 2011 (Doha).  Federer will look for his 69th career singles title tomorrow in Paris.  Should he win, he will become only the 2nd man to win both Roland Garros and the Paris Indoor.  Andre Agassi is the other.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)