Dave at Betcast interviewed me last week. You can listen to that interview HERE
We had some very odd results yesterday. Ferrer lost in straight sets on clay to Gabashvili! In Spain!
Fognini is clearly still in sulk mode as he failed to win a game against Giraldo before he retired at 0-6, 0-4.
Kvitova bombed out in straight sets although that isn’t so much of a surprise these days!
Even Nadal only scraped through his match with Ramos 7-6, 6-4.
ATP Bucharest, 11:30 – Haase has yet to take a set from Youzhny in 5 attempts. Youzhny won their most recent meeting which was in the final of Gstaad in July.
Haase had an excellent clay season last year but his more recent form has been very poor. Before this week he had four first round losses in his last four clay events. All were as favourite.
Youzhny isn’t doing much better with 3 withdrawals and one retirement already in 2014. There were rumours before his first round match with Seppi in Monte Carlo that he was still carrying an injury. He didn’t play too badly if that was the case but didn’t take his chances.
Seppi had never beaten Youzhny before. If Haase is going to get his first win over the Russian then this is his best hope. I’ll lay Youzhny below 1.30 .
Update: Youzhny broke straight away to give us our lay price and then haase controlled the match.
Haase won 6-3, 6-3.
WTA Marakech, 13:00 – Oprandi has beaten Vidagany in both their previous matches. Both were on clay but they haven’t played for almost 4 years.
Vidagany plays on the ITF circuit and has played just one main tour, main draw match in the past 12 months. That was against Schiavone in the first round this week. She won surprisingly easily in straight sets. Schiavone was defending champion and whilst she hasn’t won many this season she has been playing reasonable tennis.
Oprandi reached the quarter finals in Bogota and reached the same stage in her last two ITF clay tournaments. She struggled in her opening set against Grymalska in the first round but came through in 3 sets.
As Oprandi is more or less bandage-less right now I have to favour her. I think Vidagany’s win over Schiavone was more down to the Italian being so bad almost anyone would have beaten her.
Oprandi starts at 1.64 but I will wait a game or two to see how they start the match. Oprandi at 1.80 or better feels like a good entry unless she shows poor form early in the set.
Update Oprandi won 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.
Barcelona, 17:00 – Thiem has taken a couple of decent scalps already this week. Today he is up against an excellent clay courter in Giraldo.
Giraldo had a virtual bye through the last round as the Fognini sulk rumbled on. That may not have helped Giraldo other than by helping save some energy.
Thiem’s 3 setter with Granollers will have sharpened his game nicely for this one.
I rate both these players highly for different reasons. Giraldo has proved himself to be an excellent player on clay and Thiem is the young player I picked out as having the best chance of becoming a top player. His game is maturing well.
This is Thiem’s fifth match as he had to come through the qualifying rounds. He is young so will recover quickly but clay can really take it out of you.
I am going with Giraldo’s clay experience over Thiem’s youth and energy.
They start around evens.
Update: A great effort by Thiem but that Giraldo experience proved the deciding factor. Thiem was a break up in the third set but Giraldo won 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.