Azarenka v Radwanska:
Quarter finals time. No easy matches from here for the players.
Both players over powered their opponents in the fourth round. Azarenka was a class above Benesova who has shown some excellent form. Goerges has started 2012 reasonably well but was also blown away by Radwanska.
Azarenka leads the head to heads 6-3. They have played 3 times in the last 12 months and each match went to 3 sets. Azarenka won 2 of them but in every match Radwanska took the first set.
Between them they have lost just 1 set at this tournament which was when Radwanska lost her opening set in round 1.
Along with Kvitova Azarenka was my pick for the title and I have seen nothing so far to make me doubt her. She does have a habit of having a period of play where she sprays balls all over the place but over the course of a full match she will hit more winners than Radwanska.
As Radwanska has won the opening set in the 3 most recent matches we could lay Azarenka at the start. Another option is to wait to back Aza at the higher price. Personally I will wait to back her after the first break and will add to that if/when she loses the set.
Update: Radwanska started slowly and seemed like she had problems with her leg that was heavily strapped. She went a break down but came back to win the set 7-0 in the tie break. Azarenka fought back in the second with a bagel and she took the third easily.
Azarenka won 6-7, 6-0, 6-2.
Berdych v Nadal:
Head to heads are 11-3 in Nadal’s favour. He has won their last ten matches and it is 2006 since Berdych beat him. Since that 2006 win the head to head set count is 22-1.
This match has an extra dimension brought about by the incident In Berdych’s last match against Nadal’s fellow countryman Almagro. Take a look at the initial incident and decide for yourself. berdych gets hit by the ball ( thats a tennis ball NOT a canonball) and collapses in a heap. If Almagro was able to hit the ball that accurately every time he would be world number 1. Berdych is a big guy and was running towards Almagro. Ofcourse he had him in his field of view. Almagro stopped to ask him if he was ok but must have been thinking WTF? Its a tennis ball.
At the end of the match he refuses to shake hands and is rightly booed by the crowd. berdych was clearly upset at the crowd’s reaction and it WILL continue into the Nadal match.
Does nadal need more incentive to beat Berdych? Ofcourse not. However I expect this to adversely affect Berdych and his perfomance.
Nadal isn’t the dominant force that he was a few months ago but I think he takes this quite comfortably.