14:00 – Cilic v Melzer
Rankings are 28 and 11. Head to heads are 4-2 to Cilic ( 1-1 in 2010 )
Probably the game that stood out to me above all others on today’s list. What a match this will be!
Cilic hasn’t been in the best of form but has been able to grind out some results. He must have been bitterly disappointed not to be able to defend his title in Croatia last week but he bounced back well in the last round here. Zverev isn’t the toughest of opponents though and whilst Cilic looked good he has an opponent today who is in another league to Mischa Zverev.
Melzer had a pretty good season in 2010 although his form fell away a little towards the end of it. He has started 2011 well reaching the 4th round of the Oz Open where he lost to Murray.
The big difference between the players is their confidence. Cilic knows he can beat the lower ranked players but when a top 20 guy is on the other side of the net his confidence drops. That isn’t a problem that Melzer has and that was helped in 2010 when he beat Nadal.
Melzer has a higher first serve percentage over the last month and holds serve 81% of the time. Cilic’s first serve goes in just 56% of the time although he holds serve 88% of the time. He is having to work harder for those holds.
Melzer’s stats on return of serve are higher and if he plays his aggressive receiving game then he will win this match. He needs to push Cilic back in the court and use the angles to outplay the Croat.
Backing both players on serve is an option. If you use this strategy I’d advise leaving the first 2 games alone.
Alternatively back Melzer from the start. Green up after the first set to be safer although only 1 of their previous matches wasn’t settled in straight sets.
Update: What a let down! Melzer just didn’t turn up for this match. He clearly wasn’t happy as he spent more time moaning about noise from the crowd than in winning his match. He wasn’t aggressive at all and was taking the Cilic serve from 2 metres behind the baseline at times.
Cilic won 6-2, 6-4.
20:30 – Nieminen v Troicki
Rankings are 43 and 24. Head to heads are 1-1 ( both matches were in 2010 ).
Nieminen beat Ferrer in the last round. Ferrer may not have been too motivated but beating him in straight sets is a goo0d win in anyone’s book.
Troicki has stepped his game up to another level over the last 12 months and has become more reliable than in the past.
Nieminen hasn’t been in the best of form but he loves indoor hard courts and has a great record on them. He is overdue a run of good results.
Both players are reasonably solid on serve and hold 80% of the time so I expect a very close match but I am going for Nieminen to get the win.
Either lay Troicki from the start or back Nieminen on serve.
Update: Very close match with Troicki winning 7-6, 7-5.