Thursday’s hitter, Kevin Anderson, came through — in sweaty fashion. He fortunately staved off a set point (on Philipp Kohlschreiber’s serve) in the second set breaker before finally getting across the finish line.

“Come on Kevin” sat in the driver’s seat for most of the match, but tightened up attempting to serve out the match at 5-4. When he dropped his serve, I had flashbacks from Wednesday when RBA lost in like fashion. But, thankfully for all of us, Anderson pumped the brakes on his skid and won in straight sets.

And, with that, we look ahead to the four Madrid quarterfinal matches getting underway at 7 a.m. ET.

The top half of the draw will feature Rafa Nadal, the tournament’s No. 1 seed and now winner of 50 consecutive sets on clay — a new ATP record on one surface. Nadal (-1400) will take on Dominic Thiem. The other match on this side: Kevin Anderson (-176) vs. Dutze Lajovic.

On the bottom half of the draw, we find Kyle “Nice Guy” Edmund (-200) vs. Denis “El Shapovalov,” and Sascha Zverev (-280) vs. Big John Isner.

I don’t see tomorrow being a very prosperous day for underdogs. I fancy Edmund to get the best of El Shapo on the dirt, a surface that should suit the Brit far more. Anderson should also outclass Lajovic.

At a price of +250, Isner could be a decent dice roll tomorrow against Zverev, who’s coming off a title win last week in Munich. Get ready for tiebreaks, though, as all of Isner’s sets this week have gone the distance. With Isner winning four of those five breakers, some value lies with the American to serve-bot his way to another win.

Our hitter on Friday comes from the popcorn match of the day between Rafa and Domi. Let’s get to it.

YTD: 45-42 +11.23 units 


Rafa Nadal (-1400) vs. Domi Thiem (+1100)

When: Not before 11 a.m. ET
Where: Madrid, Spain
Surface: Clay
H2H: Nadal leads 6-2

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