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Federer and Gulbis to Reprise Rome Clash in Madrid Quarters

The Gulbis bandwagon was in a sad state at the start of the 2010 season, left abandoned and neglected.

This abandonment is not without reason; following several years of disappointment, underachievement and phlegmatic accounts, a Diaspora of fans conceded fawning over his talent and potential was wasted exercise. 

The refrain: he didn’t seem to care about doing anything meaningful with his precious gift bestowed by the tennis gods, so why should others care if he does.

But lo-and-behold, the Latvian experiences an awakening of sorts: wins a maiden title, defeats Federer and takes a set off Nadal at Rome.The all-too-forgiving tennis buffs rushing back to fawn over his talent and potential without so much as a blink. Each one, eagerly boarding his bandwagon once again, and strapping in for what they hope will be another glorious ride.

Glorious it certainly will have to be because Gulbis and Federer are about to reprise their Rome clash in Madrid.

The second Masters clash in as many Masters is a highly anticipated affair, fittingly reserved for the night session, prime time wagering.

The markets are a buzzing beehive of activity as tennis buffs sort through the dilemma of which player to back? William Hill is at the vanguard, with over 20 different tennis wagering markets on offer, including Live Betting once the match gets underway.

Federer would like nothing better to do than to whip the audacious Gulbis back into his rightful place for even daring to show him up in Rome. And most are of the opinion he will do exactly that.

Indeed, it is not often Federer is found wanting so but it isn’t as if he retreated into the panic room over the loss, so neither should fans looking to back him.

On the contrary, he got his game into gear in Estoril –albeit lost in the semis to Montanes – and got down to the business of defending his title in Madrid in typical unruffled fashion, cruising into the quarters.

All eyes will be on Gulbis though because the pressure will be on him to replicate his Roman adventure; the tipping question is whether he would back-up his win in Rome with an unthinkable second victory over Federer. An affirmative response would certainly prove he has really come of age.

So what does all this mean for the market on this match. Because there is a lot of drama preceding this match and great interest in the outcome bookies have had to react to offset the large volume of wagering coming down the wire.

Federer is naturally the favourite (was there any doubt?) to win, but his price is found wanting. It isn’t up to its usual lofty standards. Federer is a mere 4/11 favourite, which in his case is a modest price tag.

Meanwhile, Gulbis is an understated puppy at 2/1. But before tennis buffs read "upset-in-the-making" in his price tag, keep in mind Gulbis gained a lot of fans when he beat le Fed in Rome. There will be more action on him than there has been in some time. Bookies have had to take stock of this when setting his odds.

As to whether he can beat Federer, bearing in mind he faced an ill-prepared and rusty Federer in his first clay court match of the season, I would say a lot of that win was down to Federer defeating himself rather than Gulbis beating him. That is why, I don’t see him replicating those heroics again – that is, if you can call seven match points heroics – and believe Federer will come through for the betting public.

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