Andy Murray v Milos Raonic
There can be little doubt that Andy Murray had to dig incredibly deep to beat Benoit Paire in the Third Round. The Frenchman actually served for the match in that one, but Murray might have been given the boost in confidence he would have needed to really go a lot further here in Monte Carlo.
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The first two wins have been through inconsistent performances from Murray, but his opponent has hardly been breezing through the draw. The Milos Raonic serve remains a big shot on any surface, but his serve has not been as effective as he would have liked in the last two matches as Raonic has needed a final set tie-breaker in both wins.
Raonic has been fortunate in his last two matches as he has been unable to hold in rallies as much as he would have liked. He is likely going to be tested by Murray who is able to make a lot of returns, although the World Number 2 will look to serve better than he has in the first two matches in Monte Carlo to make sure he doesn’t allow Raonic to get away from him.
The last three matches between these players have all gone the way of Andy Murray although their Semi Final at the Australian Open was incredibly close. I am not sure Milos Raonic is playing up to that level as he was at Melbourne Park as his serve has not been up to the level expected and I think Murray will work his way through to a 64, 67, 64 win.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Andy Murray -2.5 Games @ 1.69 with 888 Sport
Roger Federer v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
The Third Round match against Roberto Bautista Agut always looked to be one that Roger Federer would be comfortable with and it turned out to be the case. This should be a much tougher test for Federer on his return to the Tour as he faces Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a player that has given him plenty of trouble in the past.
It was only in 2013 that Tsonga crushed Federer in three sets at the French Open, while their one match on the clay last season went the distance, although in favour of the latter.
A big serving display helped Tsonga beat Federer in the Canadian Masters Final last season too and another big serving day would make it a very tough day for Federer. However I am not sure that the Frenchman is playing at a very high level at the moment and I think Federer might have a chance to get into the weaker backhand wing of Tsonga on this slower clay court.
That is the key for Federer who is definitely the stronger player on the backhand wing, but he will have to make sure he gets enough balls back in play off the Tsonga first serve. I think Federer is the better mover on the court too and he has to use that to keep Tsonga off balance and force the Frenchman to move around the court and not set himself for the big forehand. Doing that should give Federer a chance to come through this tough Quarter Final with a 63, 76 win and a place in the Semi Finals.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Roger Federer -3.5 Games @ 2.00 with UNIBET
Marcel Granollers v Gael Monfils
Marcel Granollers might be a Lucky Loser this week but he has taken advantage of his fortune and moved through to the Quarter Final. The Spaniard has beaten two of the younger talents on the Tour but he will have to be at his best to see off Gael Monfils who has been in very strong form this week.
I have to say I am happy that Monfils finally looks to be getting his act together on the Tour and trying to win matches without looking to entertain the crowd. That part of his game will never disappear, which is a good thing, but Monfils looks more like someone who wants to win matches and titles this season.
Even with that in mind, I think Monfils will have a hard time covering this number against a grinder like Granollers who has won three of their previous four matches. Last season they played a tight three setter in Madrid which was eventually won by Granollers and I think this has the making of another close match.
Monfils hasn’t been losing a lot of games this week, but I think this might be the toughest test he has had to this point of the tournament. I can see a few breaks of serve both ways, but eventually the Frenchman will prevail behind a 76, 63 win and that is why I will back Granollers to cover this one.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Marcel Granollers +4.5 Games @ 1.93 with Pinnacle Sports
Prices correct at time of writing.