Indian Wells 2012, 15th March

Not many games each day now. Just 4 today and a couple of doubles matches.

Players seem to be having problems closing out matches this week. Tsonga had a match point against Nalbandian in the second set but lost the set and then lost the third quite tamely. Simon was in control at a set and 5-2 up in the second but somehow managed to lose the set.  Even Federer struggled past Bellucci and in the third set and 4-4 he went 0-30 down on his own serve. He had to dig deep to get himself out of that one although according to the commentator he was fighting illness.

Just about the only person not affected by the flu this week is that irritating female commentator. Where did this woman come from? How did  anyone listen to her in action and decide that she was ideal for the job? One of my real bug-bears in life is people who are unable to say words like month or three. They become mumf and free. I just don’t get it. They are able to make the “th” sound as they make it in other words. If you asked them to spell “three” I have no doubt they will spell it correctly. This lady may have an excellent knowledge of tennis. She MAY have but skillfully hides it from her listeners.

Oooooohhhh great point from Ferrrr- err –ro. He goes froo six free, six free.  Whats with the half laugh mid sentence too?

Anyway, enough ranting. Lets look at today’s matches.

 

Bartoli v Ivanovic:

Head to heads are 4-3 in favour of Ivanovic although Bartoli has won 3 of the last 4 including their last one which was in March last year.

They have only had one 3 set match which was back in 2005.

There are no obvious winners this week. Djokovic bageled Andujar in the last round and then lost the second set in a tie break. Wozniacki lost weakly to Ivanovic. Fed taken so close. etc etc . I have never known a tournament be so badly affected by illness. We don’t know who has been hit by it and to what extent it effects their play.

The value has to be with Ivanovic. She produced some great tennis against Wozniacki and fought back well against  Pervak despite having her leg heavilt strapped during the second set.

Bartoli has had 3 straight forward wins although only Safarova was the only strong opponent on paper.

The market has them very even with bartoli a slight favourite at 1.80

I think it will have many swings and Ivanovic will come through in 3 sets. 

Update: Bartoli was suffering from the dreaded flu but Ivanovic played well to win in 2 sets.

Ivanovic won 6-3, 6-4.

 

Djokovic v Almagro:

Djokovic leads the head to heads 2-1. Almagro’s win came in 2004 when Djokovic was a qualifier.

Easy win for Djokovic? The market would say so as it has Djokovic at 1.11 which is surely a little insulting to the Spaniard. Berdych wasn’t anywhere near his best in the second set but Almagro played well throughout the whole match.

As he showed in his recent  match with Murray Djokovic is capable of the occasional poor match.

Lets hope that Almagro puts him under pressure in the first set to give a decent backing price. Although if we get it lets also hope it doesn’t go the same way as the Berdych match.

Update: Almagro seemed a little intimidated but kept the score semi respectible.

Djokovic won 6-3, 6-4.

 

Kirilenko v Sharapova:

Kirilenko has done enough to get through this week but has given too many break chances to her opponents. She has had a couple of 3 set matches and the other was 7-6, 6-4.

Sharapova has looked superb all tournament. She hasn’t dropped a set and only Halep in the third round made a contest of it.

I only see one winner. Sharapova will be too strong.

Update: Fantastic match. For a set and a half Kirilenko was good. VERY good. All her shots were hitting the lines and Sharapova was finding it tough to stay with her. Kirilenko took the first set.

The second set started with a break for Kirilenko. Sharapova eventually broke back and the set was close. Then an incident helped to change the course of the match. Kirilenko put up a high lob and while Sharapova was waiting for the ball to come down Kirilenko hit her racquet on the court rapidly four times. This was a blatant attempt to put her opponent off. The umpire stopped the game and awarded the point to Sharapova. Kirilenko complained but was put in her place by a strong umpire.

After that Kirilenko started to sulk a bit and was certainly angry for a few points after it. She was broken and Sharpova took the set. The third set was more one sided .

Sharapova won 3-6, 7-5, 6-2.

 

 

Simon v Isner:

Simon was impressive in 2 and a half sets of his match with Harrison. He played well to get a break ahead but allowed Harrison a cheap break to level the scores. He was dominant in the tie break. A 2 break lead was given away in the second set which he lost from 5-2. Easy third set win.

Isner is all about serve and his main weapon has been firing well this week. Melzer found a way to eal with the serve but it was more than just standing well back on return. He is able to read Isner’s serve exceptionally well. Simon is also a great returner but he won’t have an answer to Isner’s serve IF it is top notch.

This is on Isner’s racquet. If he continues to serve exceptionally well he will win but if not he doesn’t have the groundstrokes to beat Simon.

Update: Not a classic. The early part of the first set felt very much like Isner’s match with Melzer. The American’s serve was poor and Simon was getting several chances to break. He did break in the first game.

Out of nowhere Isner started to play better and broke back in the sixth game. He broke again to take the set.

In the second set Isner’s level dropped off again and Simon broke him twice to take the set.

The third set was close but it was Isner who put more pressure on his opponent’s serve. He finally broke to take the match as Simon was serving to take the set to a tie break.

Isner won 6-3, 1-6, 7-5.

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