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Last night’s matches didn’t go quite as expected although the Janowicz lay gave a decent trade. I didn’t trade the Bouchard v Mattek Sands match but I am guessing Bouchard was tired after her Fed Cup. Baghdatis found some form too!
Thiem is a very promising prospect on the ATP tour and he should be able to give a good account of himself today against Nieminen.
Nieminen somehow found the energy last week to reach the semi finals and took Monfils to 3 sets. He only had 1 match that didn’t go to 3 sets and that was won in 2 tie breaks! He had been ill in the weeks prior to that and claimed to have spent many days on the sofa.
They have played just once before which was in 2011. Nieminen won 7-5 in the third set.
I can see Nieminen having to come from behind but with a few days’ rest behind him he should be able to maintain his form. Feeling fitter again should mean his concentration is better and the unforced error count will be lower.
I will hope to back him a break behind in the early games.
Update: Thiem broke right at the start of the match and looked solid on his own serve. He had a bit of a wobble when serving for the set but came through ok. Nieminen won a very late break in the second to level the match but Thiem was the more consistent and won 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
Mattek Sands starts as slight favourite against Niculescu. They have never played on a hard court but if Sands is in the mood I’d expect her to try to hit through Niculescu’s irritating slices.
If Sands finds it difficult to time her forehand against the slice which will stay low she could get frustrated and we will see errors.
Sands to win in 3.
Update: Sands didn’t hold her serve once in the first set!
Niculescu won 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
Knapp gave up a 5-0 lead in her opening set against Garcia. She was able to get another break to take the set but was probably struggling after her Fed Cup matches.
Jankovic hasn’t played since she reached the 4th round of the Australian Open so she should be fresher. She may take a few games to get used to the courts and that could give us a better price than her SP of 1.32.
I expect Knapp to run out of steam again after a few games.
Update: Knapp never got going. Jankovic won 6-0, 6-2.