11th Feb 2014 – Errr hello? The season’s started guys!

So many players seem to be taking an age to find their form and consistency. This can be good for trading but letting positions run isn’t really an option. This keeps it interesting!

 

Gulbis and Istomin are first up in Rotterdam.

They haven’t played for almost 4 years and have never played on anything other than clay.

Tennis Insight tells us that  Gulbis has lost 4 in a row in this price range whereas Istomin has won 4 in a row at this price.

The last time Gulbis played was his loss to Querrey in straight sets at the Australian Open. He then seems to have disappeared. Maybe his father sent him to some sort of boot camp to have the shit kicked out of him.

Istomin has been in better form. A quarter final in Sydney, a third round in Melbourne and a quarter final loss last week to eventual winner Monfils. The only real negative from last week was how cautious he was on break points against Tursunov. He totally changed tactics rather than stick with what had won him the break points in the first place.

We don’t know what Gulbis has been doing but what we can say with certainty is that he hasn’t had any competitive match play. That could make him a step slower than Istomin in the early games and I’d expect Istomin to make a faster start. Whether he can take the break chances is another matter but I think a lay below 1.50 on Gulbis is worth a go. Trade out if/when Istomin takes the set.

 

Cornet was on Fed Cup duty at the weekend where she lost in straight sets to Bencic.  Voegele was in the team that took on Cornet’s France but was replaced for her second match having lost weakly to Razzano.

They haven’t played for a little over a year and Voegele won in 3 sets on an indoor hard court. Since then I’d say Cornet is playing significantly better tennis.

Over the last 3 months Voegele has better stats from the service line but Cornet posted better numbers on return.

Cornet starts at 1.57 and as long as she isn’t too fatigued by her Fed Cup matches and the travelling to Doha I expect her to take this. I want at least 1.70 though before backing her.

 

Safarova was withdrawn from her Fed Cup match because she was ill. Then when her team were struggling she was recalled and despite coughing and spluttering her way through the match with Soler Espinosa she got the win for her team.

That was yesterday and must have sapped a great deal of her energy. She then had to travel from Spain and won’t have had much time for proper rest.

Today she takes on Flipkens who appears to have put her poor end to last season behind her with some very solid performances. 2014 has seen her reach two quarter finals and a semi final.

Normally I would give Safarova the edge but I think in her weakened state the match is Flipken’s to take.

 

Bouchard played Mattek Sands In Sydney in January and lost in straight sets. The Canadian wasn’t herself that day and was making a lot of unforced errors.

Straight after that loss Bouchard went on to reach the semi final of the Australian Open.  I wonder how interested she was in going deep in the Sydney event?

Mattek Sands reached the quarter finals in Sydney but retired after just 5 games. At the Australian Open she was unlucky to draw Sharapova and lost in straight sets. She then lost in the first round in Pattaya as a 1.40 favourite to Pliskova.

I have to go with Bouchard for the revenge win here although I don’t feel comfortable backing at 1.54 . Give me 1.70 and I’m in! Predicted holds and 3 month stats all point to Bouchard taking this.

 

There are a few interesting matches in the ATP events tonight.

Baghdatis is having a rough time of it at the moment. he usually starts the season well but hasn’t won a match in 2014 yet. last week in Zagreb he lost in the qualifying rounds as a 1.08 favourite to Krstin.

Rajeev Ram isn’t one of my favourite players. I have always considered him to be over rated and to be fair he isn’t THAT highly rated in the first place! He has come through the qualifying rounds but faced no competition. His first 2 opponents were ranked 1675 and an unranked wild card.

Ram is one of those Americans who hates to leave home soil and clings t as many US tournaments as he can find.

Baggy starts at 1.64 but with his confidence at a very low level I feel we will see a higher price on him. ideally he gets an early break for a cheaper lay.

 

Janowicz and Benneteau have met twice before. Both matches were last season and Janowicz won each time. The matches had close sets and the most recent went to the deciding set.

Janowicz starts as favourite at 1.58 . It’s never easy to assess a player’s motivation and fitness/energy levels but Janowicz reached the semi finals in Montpellier last week. He was putting absolutely everything into his serve in particular and was looking a little fatigued against Gasquet. He lost in the first round of Rotterdam last season so if his body is hurting and he goes behind, how high is the need to rest his body compared to fighting for a few extra points when he won a hatfull last week?

On the other side of the net Benneteau is defending final points from last season. He had a surprising loss (to me at least) last week to Davydenko but should feel forced to give everything this week to avoid slipping down the ranking ladder.

I’m not saying Janowicz is coming into the match intending to lose it but if he can’t win with minimal effort he needs to give his body time to recover a little.

I will be laying Janowicz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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