20th April 2014 – Easter Sunday Finals

Kuala Lumpur, 11:00Cibulkova v Vekic

Cibulkova starts at 1.19 and it would be a real shock result if she were to lose this one. their only previous meeting came earlier this season in Indian Wells and ended in an easy straight sets.for Cibulkova.

She hasn’t sailed through to this final though and lost the opening sets in her quarter and semi finals.

Vekic has lost the opening set in 3 of her 4 matches. In two of them including her semi final she only won a single game in set one. If she makes the same start today I don’t expect her to make a comeback.

I will be hoping that Vekic can take an early lead although with her starts this week it seems unlikely. 1.19 is no price to back any women in a final.

Update: Vekic won 6-7, 7-5, 7-6

 

Monte Carlo, 14:00 - Wawrinka v Federer 

This will be a great match to watch and no tennis fan should miss it.

Many were expecting a repeat of the Australian Open final but Djokovic wasn’t good enough on the day to beat Fed. Federer beat the world number 2 in straight sets but needed 3 to beat Tsonga. He started well against Tsonga but his mind switched off towards the end of that opening set.

Wawrinka has already beaten one of the best clay courters in the world who had just beaten THE best clay courter in the world. Wawrinka has spent all his career in Federer’s shadow. It can’t have been easy to come from a small country and have the best player ever to play the game to be getting all the attention. In the past Wawrinka just didn’t believe he could beat Federer. Their head to heads are 14-1. Fed has won their last 11 matches. Interestingly Wawrinka’s only win came in Monte Carlo in 2009.

Wawrinka has matured a great deal over the last 12 months and has proved he can beat one of the top players in a huge final when he took the Oz Open in January. Now we have the one he has really been waiting for. They have only met in one final before but that was an exhibition tournament in 2009. Today its the real deal and I just have a feeling Wawrinka can pull this off.

In the battle of the back hands Wawrinka has the edge. He loves to push his opponent wide with angled back hands that hit the court around the service line. I think we will see this tactic a few times today.

In the past Federer has had the advantage mentally but Stan has improved immeasurably in this area under Magnus Norman.

Update: I wasn’t sure if he was going to make it. Wawrinka was creating chances but not taking them. He leveled the match at 1-1 with a second set tie break and took control in the third.

Wawrinka won 4-6, 7-6, 6-2.

 

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18th April 2014

Monte Carlo, 11:30 - We haven’t seen the best tennis from Nadal this week although he could have been forgiven for thinking he didn’t need to play at a high level to beat Gabashvili and Seppi. Gabashvili really played well in their opening set and hung onto his early break for longer than expected.

Ferrer started his match with Dimitrov by being broken. After that we saw classic Ferrer and he breezed through in straight sets.

Ferrer has done well against Nadal in their more recent encounters and has actually won 2 of their last 3. They were on hard courts though. We have to go back to 2004 and their first meeting to find a Ferrer win on the dirt.

I think we have a decent chance of seeing 3 sets today but will be on Nadal for the win. Ferrer taking the first set would be great.

 

Monte Carlo, 13;30 - Tsonga beat Federer in straight sets at last year’s French Open. Fed was in the middle of a huge slump in form then and I am sure he hasn’t forgotten. He plays his best tennis when he has something to prove.

Fognini handed the match to Tsonga with a pathetic display that ended with him insulting his own father. He should have won the match in straight sets.

Tsonga has had 3 sets in both his matches whereas Federer has come through in straight sets both times. Federer started slowly against Rosol but was soon in control. He will be focused from the very first ball today.

Unless we see a poor match from Fed he should have too much court craft for Tsonga on these courts.

 

 

 

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17th April 2014

More rain in Kuala Lumpur. They might get the tournament finished by Christmas.

 

Monte Carlo, 11:30Wawrinka played an incredible match yesterday. He lost just 2 games against Cilic and handed him a bagel in set one.

He is up against Almagro who reached the final last week which he lost to Verdasco. His body language wasn’t great in that match and he lost it in straight sets.

Wawrinka has won their last three matches and has also won 4 of their 5 meetings on clay.

I expect Wawrinka to have too much class for Almagro but his starting price of 1.34 is too short. We may not get it but I am looking for a slightly higher entry on the Swiss number 1.

 

Monte Carlo, 13:30Ferrer leads the head to heads  3-1 over Dimitrov and he won their  only previous meeting on clay.

Ferrer is becoming less of a force on other surfaces but on clay he is still up with the best.  He wasn’t tested by Chardy in the last round.

Dimitrov has played two 3 set matches so far. I’m not sure Ramos would have troubled Ferrer despite playing very well.

Their last meeting on clay was in 2012 and was an easy straight sets win for Ferrer. I think it will be closer today but I still expect the Spaniard to come through with the win.

As with Wawrinka his starting price is too low and I think we have a better chance in this match of seeing the favourite go a break behind in the opening set. I will back Ferrer when he is a  break down.

 

Monte Carlo, 15:30Berdych has been beaten by Garcia Lopez on clay but it was way back in 2007. They haven’t played since 2011 and Berdych is now at his career best ranking of 5th.

Garcia Lopez is in an excellent vein of form. he won the title last week in Casablanca and this week beat Dolgopolov in the last round.

His legs may be feeling a little heavy going into this one but I expect him to give a good account of himself at least in the opening set.

Berdych seemed ok against Tursunov but he withdrew from the semi final in Miami. I feel his is worth a lay at 1.26 but I do expect him to get the win in the end.

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