Nieminen starts at 1.50 against Falla. They have never played before and normally I would give Falla a decent chance on a slowish hard court. His serve can often keep him in matches against higher ranked players. He had a poor loss in Stockholm which pits doubt in my mind about his current motivation level. Then to confuse us even more he beat Simon in the first round this week for the loss of just 1 game! Simon clearly tanked that match though so I’m not sure how much weight can be given to that win.
Nieminen beat Paire in straight sets as an underdog in the last round. That tells us more about his chances today for me. He has been fairly consistent recently.
I will favour Nieminen in this one but will wait to grab a higher entry price on him. A slack early service game could give Falla a break point or even perhaps a break.
Update: Falla got the early break and gave us our entry.
Nieminen won 6-2, 6-3.
Kamke is underdog against Roger Vasselin but I rate his chances today.
They haven’t played this season. Kamke has won their 2 most recent meetings with the last one being last season in the Luxembourg Challenger.
In the last 3 months Vasselin has better stats from the service line while Kamke was better on return of serve. Checking stats against common opponents in the last 3 months makes Kamke favourite on all counts although it’s not a huge sample.
Over all I am happy that the value is on Kamke but this will be a close match with tight sets. I will look to lay Vasselin if he takes an early lead.
Update: Most of the first set went by with no break but Kamke blinked first while serving at 5-6. He was never really in the second set.
Vasselin won 7-5, 6-3.
The courts in Istanbul are very slow and the surface is “fluffing up” the balls so they play like old balls after just a few games. This has leveled the playing field so to speak in some of the matches. It certainly helped Errani to be competitive in matches that no one really expected her to have a chance in.
Jankovic had a great win over Azarenka yesterday. She has played Li Na twice in 2013. Li won easily in the US Open but Jankovic won on the Rome clay in May. That suggests that this surface could favour the Serb although of course it was on clay where Li won her only Grand Slam title!
I think Li Na will just have too much for Jankovic today but I will be surprised if it doesn’t go to three sets. Li starts around 1.55 and i am hoping for a fast start from Jankovic to give us an entry around 1.80 . If Jankovic takes the opening set I will top up on Li.
Update: Close match but pretty much as expected.
Li won 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.
Kerber v Radwanska is a tough one to call. I have looked at this one for quite a while and can’t really find an edge for either player. Radwanska has played on these courts twice which should help her but both players prefer faster courts. I can see there being lots of breaks in this match and so will look to lay which ever player takes an early lead.
Update: Not a good week for Radwanska.
Kerber won 6-2, 6-2.
Ferrer never has an easy time against Benneteau.
Head to heads are 5-4 in Ferrer’s favour. They haven’t played this year but shared their 2 matches in 2012. 4 of Ferrer’s win came on clay courts.
Benneteau served extremely well to beat Lopez in the last round and I expect him to keep this close. The slightly slower surface and home crowd will favour Ferrer. If Benneteau has an inspired day from the service line he can take this match but I think it is more likely that we see a Ferrer victory in 3 sets.
Update: The first set was closer than the score suggests but over all an easy win for Ferrer.
Ferrer won 6-2, 6-1.