I held off from posting a betting preview yesterday because I wasn't all that enticed by the overnight slate, which contained a large number of lopsided matchups.
Looking at the lines, I figured Čilić and Nishikori were two of the safer favorites in action --however both 2014 US Open finalists were upset in three sets in Brisbane.
Elsewhere, in Chennai and Doha, matches were pretty straight forward; as we saw five of six favorites advance, with Roberto Bautista-Agut being the only exception.
Tonight, we find a few more reasonably priced clashes to test our luck with, including the semifinals from Brisbane and Doha final.
Tomic + 2.5 games over Raonic
I thought Milos Raonic looked pretty good last night, actually.
In the opening set, “Missile” dropped only three points on his own serve, and was active in almost all of Frenchman Lucas Pouille's service games.
His forehand was cracking the entire match and Raonic was able to win a lot of points with the volley, showing off a nice touch around the net.
That said, I think it was probably his backhand that was most impressive last night, pulling out a few remarkable down-the-line winners with it.
Tonight Raonic meets local favorite Bernard Tomic in the semifinal, where I think we will see a tightly contested match that may very well be decided by a few tiebreakers.
Tomic got the best of world no. 8 Kei Nishikori Thursday night, saving eight of 11 break points before prevailing in three sets.
I suggest backing Bernard Tomic with the two-and-half-game spread, especially with the home crowd behind him in Australia.
He's a capable returner; and if Milos plays passively and gets into long rallies with Tomic from the baseline, I expect the Australian to be up to the task.
Tomic is a guy who can play at an extremely high level, albeit in short bursts, and I fancy him to keep it rolling tonight against Raonic.
Instead of taking the money line at +150, back him with the game spread to give yourself a little insurance.
Prediction: Raonic in three (7-6, 3-6, 6-4)
Djokovic -1.5 sets over Nadal
Last year Novak Djokovic was 11-0 in sets against Rafa Nadal.
Although Nadal's game has been much improved since certain points of last season, I still like the Serbian's odds of capturing the Doha title in straight sets tomorrow.
Rafa has looked both shaky and impressive this tournament -- which has been his nature of late -- dropping sets to both Pablo Carreno-Busta and Andrey Kuznetsov en route to his 100th ATP Singles Final.
While Nadal is capable of producing moments of brilliance, he still lacks true consistency --especially holding his own serve; and there is nobody better than world no. 1 Novak Djokovic to exploit these types of weaknesses.
If there's anything that I've learnt from watching Djokovic play, it's that he saves his best moments for the biggest stages, and I'm confident that he will save his best match in Doha for the final against his rival.
While I think there is a decent chance that we'll see more tightly played matches between these two later in the season, I can't say I see this final being much of a match. Back Djokovic to cruise against Nadal, like he did all of last season.
Prediction: Djokovic in two sets (6-4, 6-3)