Djokovic a smart tip in three sets for Ferrer fixture at Rome Open

Top tennis pro Novak Djokovic has a winning habit in three sets at this year’s Italian Open. His ATP men’s singles semi-final opponent at this Masters event in Rome is seventh seed David Ferrer, who he trails 3-2 on previous head-to-heads on clay.

As Serbia star and world number one Djokovic (strong odds-on 1/8 match favourite and 2/5 to take the title) has won their last two meetings on that surface, however, he is well worth backing for victory in three sets at 3/1 with Coral.

If you fancy Ferrer (9/2 to reach the final), who thrashed Richard Gasquet and fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez before beating Belgium’s David Goffin in three sets to set up this semi, then he is something of a punt at 9/1 to win but the battle to go the distance.

Tennis Davis Cup Final 2014 France VS Switzerland

There’s an all-Swiss affair in the second men’s semi as Stan Wawrinka stunned Rafael Nadal to set up an encounter with his compatriot Roger Federer (9/2 tournament chance). Although Grand Slam great Federer has a dominant 15-2 record against his fellow countryman, those two losses have come on clay.

Wawrinka is thus a 5/4 chance to upset the Swiss number one again, and superb at 7/2 to do so in three sets. Federer, despite his advancing years, remains an odds-on 4/7 match favourite and 6/4 dispense with his former Davis Cup partner in straight sets.

Italy Tennis Italian Open

In the women’s draw, second seed Simona Halep, who is 11/8 second-favourite to reign in Rome, meets Carla Suarez Navarro, but she has never beaten this foe on clay.

This makes Spanish player and 10th seed Suarez Navarro superb value at 12/5 to beat the Romanian. Halep has dropped just seven games en route to this semi-final, though, which justifies her status as an odds-on 3/10 match favourite.

It’s 5/6 that handy Halep continues her straight sets dominance of opponents when in Rome, but an 11/4 price on victory in three may be a wiser bet when punters consider how she has struggled against this opponent.

Italy Tennis Italian Open

Odds-on 10/11 tournament favourite Maria Sharapova, meanwhile, faces fellow Russian racket star Daria Gavrilova, but the lesser known player won their only previous encounter earlier this season at another Masters event in Miami.

A repeat of that shock straight sets win is an 8/1 shot, but Gavrilova (7/2 to win her semi) has shown some pedigree in the Eternal City. She knocked out former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic and fellow youngster Christina McHale.

There’s no doubting Sharapova (strongly odds-on at 1/6) dispensing with Victoria Azarenka in straight sets, dropping just five games to the Belarusian, is ominously impressive, and she is 8/15 to do likewise to her compatriot here.

Coral’s top tip: Take those tasty 3/1 odds for Djokovic to beat Ferrer 2-1.