Alright Euro-punters and U.S. off-shore tennis betters, you know who you are and probably so does your government — Friday’s picks for quarterfinal play at the Masters Series event in Monte Carlo, where you know a tournament is bringing serious entertainment when they feature Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, AND are in the process of suing the ATP:
(10) Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs. Robin Soderling (SWE)
Take the upset. The goofy 6-foot-3 Swede is highly underrated on clay, and stays under the radar because he has a hard time staying uninjured. Berdych is not a great mover on the dirt, nor is his flat-hitting style suited for it. Soderling has won their last two meetings, both on hardcourts, and this is their first meeting on clay.
(1) Roger Federer vs. (12) David Ferrer (ESP)
Ferrer blew what would have been a marquee meeting in this round by upsetting hot-handed Serb Novak Djokovic, who foretold of his own demise earlier in the event when he ran hot and cold against the marvelous headcase Gaston Gaudio. Now Ferrer faces the world No. 1, who mauled him 6-1, 6-3 in their only previous meeting on clay last year at Monte Carlo. Federer can be bothered by players who can bounce it up shoulder-high on him on clay, but unfortunately Ferrer hits a flatter ball that sits nicely in the Swiss’ wheelhouse. Ferrer’s only chance is if Federer is mentally off from yelling at bumbling ATP President Etienne de Villers this week in Monte Carlo.
(16) Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) vs. (11) Richard Gasquet (FRA)
Haven’t seen Ferrero play yet this week — is he still using that blacked-out old Prince Graphite that makes his groundstrokes look like they can barely reach the backstop? Juan Carlos is washed up unfortunately, and under regular circumstances the nod would go to the future superstar Gasquet, but “Baby Fed” has been experiencing a lot of shoulder problems this week, compounded by some long matches. A toss-up with the injury factor, but we’ll go with Baby Fed muddling through in this first-time meeting between the two players.
(2) Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. (Q) Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)
Nadal has had a couple tough matches against the German over the last six years on the tour and challenger levels, but Kohlschreiber’s battery will be low after grinding through the qualies and enduring some long wins this week. Look for Nadal to put him on the side-to-side Merry-Go-Round a few times before easing to a straight-set win — too bad as a fresher Kohlschreiber would have made it an interesting match with that *sweet* one-handed backhand. Can anyone stop the Nadal-Fed final? Unlikely. Bet the house, and happy wagering.
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