Another excellent day for the Shark Tips service. Pospisil, Safarova and Wickmayer +3.5 games were all winners. It was almost a clean sweep but Dodig was unable to take a set despite reaching two tie breaks and having a set point in the first one.
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ATP Cincinnati, 16:00 – Youzhny v Seppi
Youzhny had an easy ride yesterday against Tsonga who was clearly ready for a rest after taking the title in Toronto last week. He has a strong head to head record against Seppi. He leads 4-1 although Seppi won their most recent match in April this year.
Youzhny has had a pretty poor season so far. His win over Tsonga may give him some confidence although he will obviously know why he was able to control the match.
Seppi has had just three decent weeks in 2014. He won two matches in Monte Carlo, Munich and the French Open. For the rest of the season he hasn’t managed to win back to back matches.
Youzhny starts at 1.76 . He has the better hard court record over the last 12 months. Seppi has won just 40% of his hard court matches in the last year.
I expect a few swings in this match and am favouring Youzhny as he has the better hard court pedigree. I won’t be backing him below evens though.
Both players are more than capable of choking when trying to close out the match so its best to avoid having an open position near the end (unless its a low lay! ).
WTA Cincinnati, 17:30 – Knapp v Pavlyuchenkova
I have read a few opinions on Pavlyuchenkova’s win over Cibulkova saying it was due to Cibulkova’s errors rather than anything Pavlyuchenkova did. I disagree. Cibulkova started the match by being broken but then broke back immediately and was hitting the ball extremely well. Pavlyuchenkova had one of her frequent slow starts. The initial break was more or less handed to her. Once she started to find her timing she was controlling the rallies and forced Cibulkova into making a lot more errors.
Knapp had to win two qualifying round matches to reach the main draw. She beat Urszula Radwanska in straight sets and Puig in a third set tie break. She had a tough first round draw against Bencic but she won in straight sets.
Knapp has had to save a lot of break points in her three matches and I expect Pavlyuchenkova to put her serve under more pressure than her previous opponents have done. We can’t discount the possibility of the patented Pav slow start and Knapp is playing well enough to take an early lead if it happens.
Ideally Pavlyuchenkova goes an early break behind so we can back her.
ATP Cincinnati, 20:00 – Fognini v Hewitt
They have played just once before which was last September on a hard court in Beijing and Fognini won in straight sets.
Fognini’s season has been blighted by sulks and bad attitude. he seems to have calmed down now but he is a ticking bomb.
Hewitt started the season in perfect style by winning the title in Brisbane and beating Federer in the final. He also won the title in Newport last month. However other than his two winning weeks he has failed to win back to back matches in every other tournament.
Fognini starts as favourite at 1.78 and i am favouring him in this match. He often trades well above his SP in opening sets and in his first round match he was broken early but came back to win in straight sets. I will back him above evens.