Tonight’s headliners, Milos Raonic (L.) and Roger Federer.
Up first at 8:30 PM EST, we’ve got a very good dog in Janko Tipsarevic facing David Nalbandian. Here are the odds:
2012 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells — Round of 32
Janko Tipsarevic: – 170
David Nalbandian: + 135
We very much believe that this line is a product of Nalbandian’s name recognition. These guys have met just the once, in Melbourne, 2007, and Tipsarevic blew a 2-0 set lead and retired down 2-1 in the fifth. That was five years ago, and a lot has changed for these two. Tipsarevic has been strong, and sits at world #10, while Nalbandian is down around #74. We feel that Nalbandian gets a lot of respect based on the past, but that he hasn’t done much to actually earn any in recent history. We are going with the favorite here. Nalbandian, though he plays close to the baseline, is a very old school grinder. A grinder like him has to work very hard to win, and we haven’t seen him put a lot of work into any one match in several years. This is a tale of two guys going in opposite directions, and in fact, we won’t be surprised if there is announcement forthcoming about Nalbandian, who loves the good life, horses, ladies, and fast cars. We think he loves all that stuff at this point a lot more than he loves doing the work necessary to win.
Round of 16 — 9 PM EST
Nadia Petrova: – 130
Maria Kirilenko: even
We just don’t feel Nadia Petrova is a good favorite. The h2h is 4-3 for Petrova, and that’s been a slim margin, with the last two matches going to Petrova in 3 hotly contested sets. Hate to be so un-PC (sarcasm), but we just kinda like the slimmer girl here on a slow as molasses hardcourt in a night session. We also feel the Russian countrywoman rivalry can’t be overstated. Kirilenko comes into this match as the higher ranked player for the first time in their 8 matchups. Kirilenko seems to us to be the better player for a lot of reasons, and we are happy to see some nice odds by her name. We also like her younger, hotter legs.
Round of 16 — 9:30 PM EST
Marion Bartoli: – 240
Lucie Safarova: + 180
Bartoli leads the h2h 5-1. We are going to stick with the same logic, or similar, to that used in our Petrova-Kirilenko analysis. You should know by now that of all the players that play this game on the women’s side, Bartoli is one of our most hated, for the stupidest shot of them all, her signature two handed forehand. While this surface does give her time to wield that ugly thing, she is the lesser conditioned athlete and Safarova has the younger legs. Safarova makes a living by smacking players around who are favored. We like her here. In general, we like her variety, and she plays a lot of doubles, and has nice hands. But what works best for her in this spot is her ability to scramble. We are taking Safarova.
Round of 32 — 10:05 PM EST
Milos Raonic: + 325
Roger Federer: – 450
I’d be shocked if Federer loses a set. Really shocked. Federer is playing magnificent tennis. He has lost one tennis match since October. He has been so dialed in on his service games. We love Raonic, but we see the cracks. The kid is about 20, or a young 21, and his lateral movement, while improved, is not Fed ready. Last year at this time, we were very disappointed when Ryan Harrison, who scored a nice win over GG Lopez yesterday, upset Raonic and upended the Federer-Raonic sweet 16 matchup. But the book on Raonic was thin then. Now that the book is thicker, we can’t see him giving this year’s Federer, who seems, more alive than last year’s, any trouble. In fact, we are predicting a bit of a Federer old school clinic. Raonic served very comfortably the other day, and hit a lot of aces against awful Carlos Berlocq, as my mother could do. Things will get very hairy for Roger come Nadal in the semis, but not tonight. At least, we’d be very surprised if he is taxed by the kid. There’s not a lot to be made off of a line so lopsided, but we have Roger advancing with ease. Though we are very excited to see the first of hopefully many matches between the two, and acknowledge that Raonic is one of the very few players able to bring the big game to Roger, and that guys who have like Tsonga, Berdych, and Soderling, have had their moments. BTW, a quick word on Harrison. This kid had a terrible time winning matches after IW last season. He really took his lumps. We expect him to have a much better spring-summer this year, and to really climb up the rankings. He’s a smart player, he’s an intense kid who wants to win, and we think he will take those lumps and turn them into positives.
Round of 16 — 11:30 PM EST
Ana Ivanovic: + 140
Caroline Wozniacki: – 180
Sofia Arvidsson played a great match against Wozniacki last night, and showed exactly how a veritable nobody can beat the Dutch Miss. Arvidsson has played well this year, and surprised us with her win in Memphis. She plays aggressive tennis, and she gave Wozniacki all she could handle, and frankly, a Wozniacki can’t really look in the mirror today and be proud of that style she plays, when she barely survives a player like Arvidsson, in approximately three hours, of which she was out played handily for the first two. Wozniacki was warned for receiving in point coaching last night from her father, and you know what? Her father should shut the fuck up because it didn’t help any, and we have to question whether anything he does helps any. Wozniacki, we’ll say again, doesn’t think the game, and that is something that a coach, a real coach, would teach her. How many more back foot forehands are we gonna have to bear, also?
In assessing her game, Lindsay Davenport, the anti-Wozniacki, said that she could be more aggressive off her backhand wing, that she has the ability to dictate with the backhand, but that her forehand basically needs a complete overhaul. We concur. And if you checked the stats last night after set one, Wozniacki had 4 forehand winners and lost her serve 3 times. And she could not get her second serve out of the mid 70’s. But we shall see. If Wozniacki goes out early here, and fails to defend all these points from winning here last year, she is going to wake up 7th in the world next week.
She won’t need a fancy Rolex watch to know what time it is.