We have a lot of matches today but so few inspiring matches. Yesterday’s quality was poor and I don’t see that changing today ( or this week to be honest).
Hajek has a decent chance of upsetting Garcia Lopez who had shown some improved form going into Wimbledon but then fell to Dustin brown in straight sets.
Hajek did beat him on the Rome clay last year and has played on clay since Wimbledon which Garcia Lopez hasn’t. It’s a difficult transition from grass to clay. GGL starts as favourite at 1.70 but if he goes a break up early he is worth a lay.
Update: Hajek was first to break and he took a 3-1 lead but GGL immediately broke back. The set was settled in a tie break and GGL ran away with the second.
Garcia Lopez won 7-6, 6-1.
Davydenko must be worth a lay against a decent clay courter. He starts at 1.38 against Daniel Munoz-De La Nava.
Davy has lost in the first round in Stuttgart for the last 3 years. Losses were to Brown, Stebe and Gimeno Traver. Munoz De La Nava has come through the qualifying round so is used to conditions.
Update: Nava took the opening set and was a break ahead twice in the third set but couldn’t quite hang on. Some nice swings though.
Davydenko won 6-7, 6-3, 6-4.
Zakopalova and Pennetta have a long standing rivalry going back 9 years. Pennetta leads the head to heads 4-3 and 3-1 on clay although they haven’t played on clay since 2008. They haven’t played on any surface for almost 2 years.
Zak’s best surface is probably grass and she showed that at Wimbledon reaching the 3rd round and coming so close to knocking Li Na out.
Pennetta is more at home on the clay and she seems to have settled back into the tour after an extended break through injury.
Pennetta starts at 1.69 which seems a fair price but I would feel happier backing her above evens. Zakopalova can be relied upon to choke serving for sets or matches more often than not so will be looking to lay her if she goes ahead early.
Pennetta to win in 2 sets although a slight possibility of 3.
Update: Swingy match which saw lots of breaks. Pennetta was broken 3 times in the first set but came back to do exactly the same to Zak in the second. In the third Pennetta took a double break 3-0 lead before Zak rattled off 6 straight games.
Zakopalova won 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.
This evening Russell and Marchenko should have an interesting match. Russell often finds his form on home soil but has been awful recently on the main tour. He did win a Challenger last week although the rankings of his opponents ranged from 164 to 1007 and only one was inside the top 300 in the world.
Marchenko won their only previous encounter but that was two and a half years ago. He reached the quarter finals of the Nottingham Challenger event on grass.
Recent serving and receiving stats favour Russell. He starts at 1.83 . I may back him if I can get on above 2.20 early.
Update: Russell won 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.