Rafael Nadal v Gilles Simon
It has been a positive return to the Tour for Rafael Nadal who has made it through to the Doubles Semi Final in Rio and now looking to do the same in the Singles. There is no doubting that Nadal is playing a lot of tennis on his comeback from a wrist issue and he will have three more matches on Wednesday with one of those coming against the defensively strong Gilles Simon.
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There will be some soreness that Nadal is feeling, but he has looked strong around the court in his first two wins in the Singles tournament as well as his performances in the Doubles. The serve has been working well for the most part, while I think the speed of the court is suiting the former World Number 1 who might be the favourite to reach the Final from the top half of the draw now Novak Djokovic is out.
Nadal won’t be paying any attention to that though as he will know how difficult Gilles Simon can make things on the court. It should be a court on which Simon can be able to use all of his defensive skills, but the key for the Frenchman is going to be getting a little more out of his serve.
It has been a more difficult path through the draw for Simon but he remains a threat if Nadal is slightly off his game. However it is Nadal who has won seven of their eight previous matches and I think he has returned well enough to expect him to have plenty of break points going his way too. They have played some competitive matches in the past, but I think Nadal can come through this test with a 75, 63 win.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Rafael Nadal -4.5 Games @ 1.73 with Unibet
Kei Nishikori v Andrej Martin
John Millman gave Kei Nishikori plenty to think about in the Second Round, but the Japanese top 10 player found a way to battle past the Australian. He is a big favourite to win this Third Round match against Andrej Martin who was the beneficiary of Philipp Kohlschreiber’s withdrawal from the tournament.
You can understand why the layers have the prices as they do because Martin spends almost all of his time on the clay courts. In fact he had not played on the hard courts for just under twelve months and his serve is not one that will offer up too many cheap points.
That means trying to rally with Nishikori who should be the better player off the ground, although his own serve is not exactly a big weapon. Failing to earn too many cheap points on serve means Nishikori will likely offer up chances to break which also makes these big spreads tough to negotiate.
However I think we will see a much better performance from Nishikori than he produced in the last Round and that should see him hold a significant edge in this match. He might need to come through a tight first set, but Nishikori can then begin to wear down his opponent with a 75, 62 win.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Kei Nishikori -5.5 Games @ 1.84 with 888 Sport
David Goffin v Thomaz Bellucci
The home crowd will certainly inspire Thomaz Bellucci who has moved through to the Third Round, but this has been a difficult season for him. His best results have come at Challenger level and Bellucci is far short of the 29 main Tour wins he had last season, while his match against David Goffin looks a very difficult one.
It has been a comfortable path through the draw for Goffin so far and the Belgian has won the last two matches against Bellucci including earlier this year in Brisbane. While the lefty serve that Bellucci possesses is a big weapon, Goffin is a very effective returner and I think the key to the cover will be how well the Belgian Number 1 serves.
The serve can be a weakness at times as Goffin doesn’t have the same pop as the very best players, but he will feel he can out-rally Bellucci in this one. I do think the home crowd will get firmly behind Bellucci, but Goffin has played plenty of Davis Cup and should be aware of the kind of atmosphere he could be facing.
Bellucci has had some very one sided defeats on the hard courts this season and will have to be at his very best to make this one a competitive match. Unfortunately I don’t think Bellucci has the confidence to do that against some as consistent as David Goffin and I will look for the latter to move into the Quarter Final behind a 63, 64 win.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: David Goffin -4.5 Games @ 2.00 with Pinnacle
Prices correct at time of writing.