Few surprises so far this week in Barcelona, as the two big names have both made it through to the latter stages and, in fact, the entire quarter-final line-up is made up of names seeded inside the top 11.
Coming in on the back of a huge success in Monte Carlo last week, it was suspected that Rafa Nadal may make a slow start here in his home country, but the Spaniard has eased through, without the loss of a set, and having only lost eight games across his two matches so far. In fairness, opponents in the shape of Garcia-Lopez and Farah were never likely to cause the World No.2 any great problems, but the spark is definitely back in Rafa’s eyes and there’s little question he’ll be all out to win this one on Sunday afternoon.
Andy Murray arrived in Barcelona having succumbed disappointingly in the Monte Carlo quarter-finals to Tomas Berdych. The Scot has come through his first two matches equally as emphatically as Rafa Nadal, but having come up against Stakhovsky and Giraldo so far, the real work begins for the British No.1 in the quarters, when he’ll face the in form Milos Raonic. The likelihood is that Murray can get past Raonic, he’ll then have to face Ferrer in a semi-final and Rafa Nadal in the final. It’s a tough ask for Murray on this surface and whilst he should get through Raonic and is capable of overcoming Ferrer’s challenge, the chances of him doing all that and then going on to beat an in-form Rafa in the final, do not look too good.
Match of the week, so far in Barcelona, probably came between Milos Raonic and Nicolas Almagro on Thursday afternoon. Almagro was the favourite, playing on clay and in his home country, but up and coming Canadian, Raonic served superbly and broke through in the final game of the first set, to take it 7-5. The second set was an even tighter affair, but again, some solid service matches from Raonic saw him into a tie-break, where he held his nerve and came through 7-3.
If you’re looking for tennis trading opportunities across the weekend in Barcelona, there are some fantastic looking matches in prospect, all potentially very tight, and all geared up for using my top trading techniques.
Murray v Raonic on Friday afternoon should be an intriguing encounter and it will actually be the first time the two have met on the Tour. I’d have expected Almagro to have given Murray a tough game today, had he been here, but having beaten Almagro yesterday, Raonic may well be a trickier opponent for the Scot. Neither player will be used to the other’s game and that may mean we could well see three sets, as one man wins the opener, before the other gets to grips with his opponent and sets up a decider. Great potential in this match for Scalping and ChampWinnings.
Rafa Nadal shouldn’t have any problems against Janko Tipsarevic, and I’d expect Fernando Verdasco to come through against Kei Nishikori. That’ll mean we’re in for a face off between Verdasco and Nadal on Saturday afternoon.
Not only did these men play out one of the greatest matches in history, at the Aussie Open a few years back, they are also the two most recent winners of this event. Rafa should win through, but if he doesn’t bring his top game, Verdasco will be ready to pounce.
Sunday should see a final between either Nadal and Murray or Nadal and Ferrer. Nadal would probably prefer to meet Ferrer if he had the choice, but both men would be capable of causing him problems and he had to work hard and be at his best when he came up against both of them in Monte Carlo last year.
In terms of the tennis betting odds, Nadal is obviously the clear favourite at 1/4. Maybe a little surprisingly, Ferrer is now the clear second favourite at 8/1, with Murray having drifted out to 10/1. At 33/1, Milos Raonic is capable of causing an upset or two, but asking him to defeat Murray, Ferrer and Nadal in succession, will likely prove a little too much for the young Canadian.
The weekend’s top tennis trading matches:
Andy Murray v Milos Raonic – Quarter final
Rafa Nadal v Janko Tipsarevic – Quarter final
Possible Weekend Matches
David Ferrer v Andy Murray – Semi-final
Rafa Nadal v Fernando Verdasco – Semi-final
Rafa Nadal v Murray/Ferrer – Final