The first of the men's semi finals takes place on Thursday at the Australian Open and Sean Calvert fancies his outright selection Stan Wawrinka to continue his winning ways...
"If the Swiss is fit for this clash he may win with a bit to spare..."
It was agonisingly close to a clean sweep of bets in Melbourne on Wednesday, as Rafa Nadal landed a nice 4.216/5 winner with a 3-1 win over Grigor Dimitrov, while Andy Murray's defeat at the hands of Roger Federer meant two things.
Firstly, my outright tournament preview yielded another winner, as those laying Murray to win his quarter were collecting, but it was another heart breaker on the overs, as the Scot and the Swiss played 41 games - one short of the overs.
At least Wawrinka is still going strong and the Swiss can take his place in a first Grand Slam final at the expense of Tomas Berdych, when the pair meet on Rod Laver Arena at 8.30am UK time on Thursday.
The worry for Stan backers has to be his physical condition after a tough four-hour battle against Novak Djokovic that would also have been emotionally draining, but he's been fortunate in enjoying a very light campaign before that.
One retirement and one withdrawal has seen Wawrinka contest 142 games so far compared with Berdych's 140, so there's little in it in terms of court time, but Stan's long five setter is still a concern, as he's never been the most robust of players.
Nerves will surely play a part here, but both have performed well in major semi finals before and I would imagine each player will be edgy, so I don't see that as being as much of a factor as physical fitness.
Wawrinka does have a very good recent record over Berdych and for me he's been playing just about the better tennis than the Czech this fortnight, although Tomas has been not far off his best, but winning six of the last seven gives Stan a clear edge.
Much will depend on the booming serve of Berdych and he'll be desperate to improve upon the 52% of first deliveries that he put in play against David Ferrer.
Wawrinka's own serve has become a major weapon too and the 'most aces' market looks good for Stan, whose win over Berdych at the US Open last season saw him land that contest by 14-3 and he fired down another 17 against Djokovic on Tuesday.
Stan beat arguably the best returner in the game in Djokovic despite serving only 58% of first serves in, which is the exact same percentage he achieved against Berdych in New York.
If the Swiss is fit for this clash he may win with a bit to spare, although Stan being Stan I can't see it being without some sort of drama and the 4.67/2 about a 3-1 Wawrinka win is a tempting proposition here.
As I'm already holding that outright tournament wager I'll consider supplementing it with that bet and other options for those not already involved are the straight win at 1.784/5 or the minus 2.5 games on the handicap at around 2.01/1.
In their three clashes in 2013 Stan won by five games, seven games and three games, with their one five set match being the seven game winning margin and the handicap looks a solid 2.01/1 shot to me.
Back Wawrinka -2.5 games to beat Berdych at 2.01/1
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