3 Jan – Thursday night/Friday

The Nishikori/Cilic match is covered for the Shark Tips service.


Auckland’s first semi final is between Flipkens and Ivanovic.

They have played just once before which was in Linz in 2012. Flipkens won in straight sets and took the second 6-0.

Both players have yet to lose a set this week. Ivanovic made a slowish start against Riske in her first match although that is no surprise as it was her first match of the season. Since then she has been pretty solid from the service line and hasn’t allowed her opponents many chances to break.

Flipkens has had more issues on serve. She has had a few disputes with the umpires which have distracted her for a few points afterwards.

Ivanovic starts at 1.32 but I think we will get a higher early price. I expect her to be the more consistent player.


Sam Groth has had a good week on home soil. He was perhaps fortunate that Kevin Anderson was forced to withdraw. The 4 sets that he won have all been tie breaks. He is a one trick pony whose serve can be hard to break when it is working well.

Chardy had a good Australian Open in 2013 but didn’t make it past the second round in the 2 tournaments before the grand slam. He seems up for the fight this week although he was a little fortunate to get past Mahut in the last round when his fellow Frenchman served for the opening set and was 40-15 up but still managed to lose 5-7.

Groth’s only chance is to take it to more tie breaks but if Chardy can get a read on the serve he can nick a break in each set.

Chardy starts around 1.50 but I think we get a short term bounce to 1.70 or better in the early games.


Jankovic had an excellent year in 2013 and if this week is anything to go by then she will continue to roll back the years in 2014.

She takes on Azarenka in Brisbane. Jankovic won their last encounter which was in Istanbul in October. That was her only win since October 2009 as Azarenka won their 4 matches in that period.

Their stats for the last 6 months are remarkably similar and Azarenka’s SP of 1.42 looks a little short as Jankovic is playing well enough to trouble her. A lay below 1.25 would be a nice entry.

I think we’ll get some decent swings in this one.


In Chennai Granollers takes on Paire. Head to heads are 2-2 and Granollers won their only previous match that was played on a hard court.

Granollers has only allowed 5 break points to his opponents in the two matches. However against Albot in the first round he was only able to take 5 of the 19 break chances that he had.

Paire has played just one match and his numbers were solid without being spectacular. He gave 5 break point chances and converted 6 of the 10 he was able to create for himself.

If Paire plays his best tennis he will take this match. Granollers hasn’t impressed so far and will need to increase his intensity if he is to stake a claim on a semi final place.


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