12:30 – Ferrer v Almagro
Rankings are 6 and 11. Head to heads are 6-0 to Ferrer.
They played on clay in the Final in Acapulco in February this year. That went to 3 sets with the first 2 sets being tie breaks.
Here we have 2 clay court specialists who go about their task in very different ways. Ferrer is the more traditional style of player on the dirt. He works so hard and often concentrates on just getting 1 more ball back in play than his opponent. He is the complete player. Almagro likes to go for the big shots especially on his backhand ( which is exceptional when he’s on top form ). He is more prone to unenforced errors. However he will be pumped up as he will be in the top 10 when the new rankings are announced.
Ferrer is stronger mentally but I am concerned about his knee injury. Over the next few weeks as you would expect with one of the best claycourters he has a lot of points to defend. He can’t do that if he doesn’t allow the injury to improve. If he is determined to give his best today and the knee allows him to then he is favourite to reach the final. Even with some patching up the knee injury has to reduce his ability to some degree and I do not expect a straight sets win. If Almagro can keep his early unforced errors under control in the first set then he is in with a great chance. If he loses the opening set its a long way back (assuming Ferrer’s knee holds out )
I want to see how they start before getting involved. I am looking for evidence of Ferrer being below par. If Almagro can avoid getting broken in the first 4 games or so and Ferrer is not operating on full power then a lay of Ferrer is a good option. If Ferrer’s painkillers seem to be doing the trick and they can keep him going long enough Almagro has a tough task.
I would expect Ferrer to want this match over in 2 sets so he may be pushing for an early break. This isn’t really his game against the top players so we may see a few more mistakes from him than we have seen from the other rounds.
Hard to pick a winner until we see how Ferrer’s injury affects him.
Update: Ferrer won 6-3, 6-4.
Nadal takes on Dodig in the other semi final. Starting price 1.01!
Dodig has been playing well but no one expects him to make much impression on the king of clay. Lay at 1.01 if you wish as they don’t come any cheaper but don’t expect much return if any. Monfils managed 3 ticks yesterday.
Update: Nadal won 6-3, 6-2.