Expect Berdych and Simon to ease into Indian Wells quarter-finals
Whilst many would have expected Tomas Berdych to be present in the latter stages at Indian Wells, few would have believed that Ryan Harrison and Gilles Simon would be competing against each other in the fourth round of the tournament.
With Andy Murray making a shock exit at the second round stage in Los Angeles though, the way has been paved for Harrison to take advantage and progress with three consecutive straight set victories.
Despite the solid tennis he has produced at the BNP Paribas tournament though, the 19-year-old hasn’t faced anybody the calibre of the 13th-ranked Simon, and the Frenchman can end Harrison’s hopes of reaching the quarter-final stage at 8/11.
After an indifferent start to the season, Simon has improved immensely in recent weeks, and looks to be finding his peak form at the right time, negotiating a tricky tie against Dudi Sela, before disposing of Stanislas Wawrinka in straight sets en route to this meeting.
Simon is 2/1 to complete another 2-0 win here, but backing the Frenchman to triumph 2-1 at 11/4 could be the better bet, as American Harrison represents a hot prospect in decent form, likely to just fall short here.
Meanwhile, Tomas Berdych will be looking to follow up an emphatic victory over Kevin Anderson in round three by besting Nicolas Almagro at 1/4.
The match is likely to bring with it some controversy, as Berdych absorbed heavy criticism after refusing to shake Almagro’s hand after beating him in January of this year, and so the imposing Czech will be looking to do his talking on the court.
It is 4/6 that Berdych sends a message with a 2-0 triumph, and having reached the latter stages of every tournament he has competed in so far this year, it could be worth backing him to win in straight sets here and ensure quarter-final progression.