I missed most of last night’s session with power problems caused by the storm. It seems calmer today so fingers crossed. I caught on some sleep though!
Baghdatis usually starts the seasons quite well and in fact was a semi finalist in Sydney last season. That suggests to me that his off season routine works for him. Just a pity he rarely keeps the form going deep into the season.
He plays Lucky Loser Steve Johnson who lost in the qualifying rounds to Klahn. This is his first time in New Zealand and Americans aren’t known for their form away from their beloved US of A.
Johnson has a strong serve but his return is weak. If Baghdatis’ prep has been up to his normal standard I expect him to take this one but could well trade higher in the first few games. Once he gets his own serve going he should control the match.
I would be very surprised if Haas gets beaten by Sock but this is his first match of the season and so may be a little match-rusty.
Sock had a very creditable win over Mannarino in the last round so is used to conditions.
Haas starts at 1.40 but I won’t be backing him there. I will wait for a higher entry which will give me a chance to see how his first match is going. If his ground strokes look solid early in the match I will look to get on above 1.70 .
Stakhovsky has a 2-1 head to head record over Benneteau and has been in decent recent form. They haven’t played since 2011 though.
Benneteau can give anyone a run for their money on his day but his form has been unreliable. He starts at 1.59 .
Stakhovsky has come through the qualifying rounds and so is used to the court conditions. I can see him pushing Benneteau very close and will look to lay the Frenchman below 1.40
I am obviously going to add more matches but won’t be starting my session until 11pm….
Members, I will see you in the chatroom at 2300.