Chela v Andujar:
Hard courts is neither of these players’ favourite surface. Andutjar has lost 9 of his last 10 on hard courts.
This is the first time since 2007 that Chela has reached the second round and this is Andujar’s first time past the first round.
Chela leads the head to heads 3-2 although all his wins have been on their favoured clay courts. They have met once on hard courts which was in Valencia last October. In that match Chela clearly wasn’t interested and lost the first set 6-0.
Chela started his first round match playing superb attacking tennis and won an early break from Russell. After that his level dropped for the rest of the first set but he held on during some marathon games. He was able to get on top for the rest of the match and won in straight sets.
Andujar also came through in straight sets against Kunitsyn.
Chela starts at 1.67 and if he can repeat the form from the first round he should be too strong for Andujar. However the thing about Chela is that he doesn’t often sustain form on hard courts.
If I can get a higher price on Chela I would be happier. As he often has bad service games regardless of how well he is playing overall I will be waiting for a price nearer evens. He usually puts the effort in for the Slams and his class should be too much over 5 sets for the Spaniard.
Update: That seemed like more than 3 sets! good performance from Chela to win 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.
Simon v Benneteau:
Simon leads the head to heads 4-1 but they haven’t played since 2009.
Benneteau has improved his game significantly in the last few months and he reached the final in Sydney last week where he lost weakly to Nieminen in straight sets having played great tennis to get there in the first place. He beat Lopez, Bogomolov Jr and Baghdatis en route to the final.
Simon’s season hasn’t started too badly either with a semi final in Brisbane where he lost to Dolgopolov. He didn’t really meet much opposition to reach the latter stages though.
Simon needed 5 sets to get past Udomchoke in the first round. He lost the third set tie break to go a set behind but turned it around.
If I could forget that final that Benneteau played against Nieminen I would be having him as my favourite. That match showed up the serious mental weakness that he used to show and that I thought he had overcome.
Simon can play some amazing tennis and even when he goes behind, as long as he is motivated, he can come back into the match. He should be motivated for a Grand Slam so I think he has the edge today. He usually struggles if he has to generate his own pace. He is a counter attack specialist. That is perhaps why he wasn’t able to dominate Udomchoke who would have given him little pace to use against him. He will get that pace from Benneteau.
Ideally Simon will make his signature slow start and give us a juicy price to back him. He starts at 1.74 on Betfair and 1.67 on Betdaq.
Update: This time Simon did things the opposite way round. He made a great start and looked in control during the early part of the set. I started trading it but was falling asleep so left it with Simon a break up. I was surprised to see that Benneteau won the set! He went 2 sets up but Simon pulled it back to a 5th set. Benneteau won the 5th set comfortably.
Benneteau won 7-5, 7-6, 1-6, 3-6, 6-2.