23rd March 2014

Some tricky matches to work out today. We continue to see some strange performances but as yet not as many odd results as in Indian Wells.

 

15:00Tsonga leads the head to heads 4-1 against Baghdatis.  He hasn’t been in top form for a while though.

Baghdatis has almost become a joke figure this season. However he finally showed what he is capable of when he knocked Kohlschreiber out in the last round.

I think if Baghdatis can serve well then he can take this to 3 sets but he will need to improve his first serve percentage. He hit just 50% of his first serves against Kohlschreiber.

I will wait for Tsonga to go a break behind before backing him.

 

15:00 – Both Svitolina and Zahlavova Strycova has excellent wins over top players in the last round. Bouchard and Vinci were both sent packing in three sets.

Vinci leaving the tournament wasn’t a huge shock as she has had very little success in the singles this season but Bouchard losing did surprise me.  Bouchard took the first set against Svitolina 6-1.

Svitolina seems to have lost the edge from her serve but is still posting respectable stats. Perhaps she has intentionally taken a little power off that first serve to increase its accuracy.

BZS’ form has been less reliable that Svitolina’s this season but she has good results. I have to go with Svitolina for the win but it will be close. Her SP of 1.54 offers no value in my opinion as I expect 3 sets. I will wait for a higher entry price.

 

16:30Robredo leads the head to heads 4-2 over Benneteau and won the only recent meeting which was at the Australian Open in January.

Benneteau served very well against Gulbis in the last round although it has to be said Gulbis wasn’t putting much pressure on those serves. I feel that Robredo will make more effective returns and not give him such an easy time.

Despite an average performance from Gulbis Benneteau still found himself 2-5 down in the third set. That was when I stopped following the match and I was amazed that Benneteau somehow scraped through.

Robredo to win in 3 tight sets.

 

18:30Anderson has had a remarkable early part of the season having ended 2013 pretty poorly. His last three tournaments have seen him reach two finals and a quarter final. There is a chance his legs are feeling a little heavy.

Gasquet has had a final and a semi final in 2014 but he has lost matches that he was expected to win and some of his wins have not been convincing. Gonzalez has been in a great run of form but you would expect Gasquet to control their match more than he did. Of course Gonzalez took a set from Djokovic in Indian Wells but the top players should be working him out by now.

I’d say three sets are likely and that we won’t see many breaks. I think Anderson will get more free points on serve and his holds will take less energy than the Frenchman’s.

Anderson to win in 3 sets.

 

21:00Dimitrov v Nishikori

My gut feeling on this was leaning towards a Dimitrov win.

Nishikori has won both their previous matches which levels things out a bit. The stats are very even. With such a 50/50 match the value is with Nishikori as the slight market underdog.

All their previous sets have been close with a single break separating the players. ( one tie break ).

Nishikori to win in 3.

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