27th April 2014 – The Finals

ATP Bucharest, 13:00

Dimitrov v Rosol

Rosol has done well to reach the final again having won the title last season. He has been impressive this week but was pushed close by Haase in the semi final.

Dimitrov had a much easier semi final when Monfils retired at 5-1 in the first set.  He hasn’t dropped a set so far although he hasn’t had the toughest draw ever.

Rosol has said that Dimitrov is favourite and that he himself has nothing to lose. That isn’t like him. He normally likes to be very positive in pre match comments. I feel that if he goes behind and certainly if he loses the opening set his intensity will drop dramatically in the second set.

Their 3 month stats are very close on everything except serve where Dimtrov is stronger. Dimitrov’s numbers are significantly better against common opponents.

Dimitrov in straight sets.

Update: Dimitrov had so many chances to finish the first set quickly but couldn’t take them.

He won 7-6, 6-1.


WTA Stuttgart, 13:00

Sharapova v Ivanovic

Both players have had poor sets this week. Sharapova’s was due to issues from the service line. her serve wasn’t put under much pressure by Errani in the semi final so she could relax more. That won’t be the case today as Ivanovic has been striking the ball exceptionally well.

Ivanovic played a very solid match against Jankovic. Even when she was broken at the start of set two she immediately broke back and gave very few opportunities to her opponent after that.

Sharapova leads the head to heads 7-2 and has won their last 6 meetings. Right now though if an opponent can put her under pressure the cracks start to appear and especially on serve.

Ivanovic has won both her finals this season and I expect her to be aggressive.  Sharapova has never lost at this event and has won the title for the last 2 seasons. She won’t be giving that record up easily and I am favouring her to take the title for a third time. I think she will have to come from behind though as we are likely to see errors from the line in the early games.

Update: Another poor start from Sharapova from the service line but towards the end of the first set she was improving. Once she got the breakthrough in the second set Ivanovic’s errors increased.

Sharapova won 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. 


Barcelona, 15:00

Giraldo v Nishikori

This isn’t the final that anyone predicted. Nadal and Ferrer will have featured in most people’s predictions but Nadal didn’t even make it beyond the quarter finals and Ferrer was knocked out in the second round.

Giraldo has a charmed life this week. In the second round Fognini handed him the match and didn’t win a single game before retiring at 4-0 in set 2. In the third round Thiem had match points but wasn’t able to convert them. Then in the quarter final Kohlschreiber retired in the second set. In his semi final Almagro was exhausted after beating Nadal in 3 sets.

Unless Giraldo’s luck can nobble Nishikori I have to favour that Japanese player to take this one. He has had a much tougher route to the final. Cilic and Gulbis had looked in excellent form earlier in the tournament but neither could cope with Nishikori’s consistent power.

Nishikori starts at 1.27 which is no value at all. I will want at least 1.50 before being interested.

Update: Giraldo took a 2-0 lead at the start of the match to give us our better price on Nishikori.

One way traffic after that. Nishikori won 6-2, 6-2.


Marakech, 15:00

Oprandi v Torro Flor 

This is another final with unlikely participants.

Torro Flor starts as quite a strong market favourite at 1.56 and it is understandable as she has beaten Hercog and Muguruza in straight sets. She also knocked out Jovanovski who she had never beaten before.

Oprandi has made hard work of her matches. She certainly should have beaten Vidagany in straight sets in the second round. She had an excellent win over Hantuchova in the semi final in 3 sets.

I think this one will also go the distance and we will certainly see a higher price on Torro Flor.

Oprandi looks stronger on serve but everything else points to a Torro Flor win.

Update: Torro Flor won 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

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