ATP Madrid, 10:00 – Haase finds his form round about stag of the season. He is more effective on clay and we saw evidence of this when he reached the final in Bucharest.
Nieminen has a pretty dismal record on clay with occasional good weeks. For example he reached the final in Dusseldorf last season.
Haase starts at 1.57 which is a little low so I will be waiting for 1.75 or better in the early games.
WTA Madrid, 12:00 – Pliskova has come through the qualifying rounds so is used to the conditions. She starts as underdog against Lisicki.
Lisicki doesn’t have a lot of success on the clay although she reached the third round in 2013. Her form so far in 2014 has been poor and she has yet to win 2 matches in a row.
Pliskova has had a very respectable season up until now but it has all been on hard courts. The courts in Madrid are quite fast for clay courts and Pliskova’s serve could keep her in contention. if she isn’t able to win the match i think she will certainly trade well below her SP.
WTA Madrid, 14:30 – Wozniacki leads the head to heads 6-0 over Makarova. Their only match on clay was in 2008.
Makarova reached the quarter finals last season where she lost to Errani. She beat Azarenka and Bartoli that week.
Wozniacki has had very little success on the clay. Her best season on the slower courts was 2011 when she won a couple of titles but she hasn’t come close since then. She has been playing solid tennis on the hard courts in 2014 but I don’t see her making a fast transition to the clay courts.
Wozniacki starts at 1.67 and I expect her to trade a lot higher. If I really had to pick a winner I would favour Makarova.
ATP Madrid, 16:15 – Delbonis takes on Lopez in the battle of the flakes.
Delbonis has an immense amount of skill on the clay but his brain wouldn’t be out of place on the WTA tour (or even ITF sometimes).
He could be in luck today as Lopez has been terrible lately. That may be down to an illness he suffered from in April and he seems to be lacking in energy. He has a decent record in this event but since it changed from hard court to clay in 2009 his best effort is a third round in 2010 . He has lost in the first round for the last 2 seasons.
The faster Madrid courts should help the Lopez serve but even that hasn’t been firing in recent weeks.
Even though Lopez is at home I am going with Delbonis but won’t be backing him below evens. I have seen nothing recently from Lopez to let me back him.