Novak Djokovic v Tomas Berdych
I have been an interested spectator when it comes to Novak Djokovic this week after the suggestions he had some sort of physical issue in his defeat to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon. There were then some rumours that he had to end his practice session earlier in the week in Toronto before the scheduled time, but Djokovic has played well in his two wins so far.
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This is the biggest test for him when he faces Tomas Berdych who has been serving well, but not exactly been on fire when it comes to his returning game. A match that Djokovic has dominated through his career, it will be interesting to see if there are any mental or physical scars that the World Number 1 is battling through.
So far he has looked in control and Djokovic doesn’t mind this match up as he is able to get plenty of the big Berdych serves back in play and he will always feel he can do very well in the rallies against this opponent. It might be tougher if Djokovic is not quite feeling 100%, but Berdych also has to get over the mental hurdle of facing someone who has beaten him eleven times in a row and won the last twelve sets they have played.
Djokovic has looked good enough this week that I don’t mind backing him in this Quarter Final against Berdych. While another big serving display from Berdych makes him dangerous through this match, I think Djokovic can negate that weapon and come through with a 75, 63 win.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Novak Djokovic -4.5 Games @ 1.73 with Unibet
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Madison Keys
After her success at Wimbledon, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has backed it up at her first tournament on the hard courts with her run to the Quarter Final this week. She had an impressive win over Agnieszka Radwanska in the Third Round which has opened the draw for her, but this is a big match for her against Madison Keys who hammered Venus Williams in the same Round.
Expect plenty of big serving and big shot making in this one as both players look to play first strike tennis and it is going to be an interesting match. I am surprised that Pavlyuchenkova is being given so many games, but I think the layers believe Keys has the securer serve of the two players as well as the superior movement around the court.
However I don’t think either is a great defender so Pavlyuchenkova can dictate rallies if she does get the first big strike in which makes her a dangerous opponent in this Quarter Final. Keys can be a very strong player on the hard courts and can dismiss opponents with little effort behind her big game, but someone like Pavlyuchenkova is playing with enough confidence to win a set and keep this match competitive.
That is what makes me feel this is too many games being given to the Russian even if she can sometimes be loose behind her serve. She has been firing in the last couple of Rounds and I think her power can give Keys some issues to contend with in what looks a close match. Taking this many games looks like the right call and I will back Pavlyuchenkova to get within the number even in a losing effort.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova +4.5 Games @ 1.96 with 888 Sport
Johanna Konta v Kristina Kucova
After winning in Stanford, Johanna Konta could have been forgiven for not being at her best in Montreal. However the British Number 1 has looked dominant so far this week and a look through the draw should have Konta believing she can add an even bigger prize to her trophy cabinet than the one she won last week.
It has been a really dominant week from Konta as she has barely dropped games on her way through the draw. In what should have been a big Quarter Final against home favourite Eugenie Bouchard, Konta will believe she has been given a good draw against Kristina Kucova who has played more tennis this week than she is perhaps used to.
You have to respect anyone who has come through the Qualifiers as Kucova has, especially when they have backed that up with three wins in the main draw. However she has been forced to come from behind in every win in the main draw against Yanina Wickmayer, the Washington Champion last week, Carla Suarez Navarro and Bouchard.
That won’t be as easy against a front runner like Konta who has gotten stronger in the second set in each of her three wins this week. She has been serving so well that Kucova will be under pressure throughout this match and Konta has been returning well enough to break serve 12/26 times she has had those opportunities.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Johanna Konta -5.5 Games @ 2.04 with Pinnacle
Prices correct at time of writing.