Barcelona Open – Thursday

18:00 – Lopez v Nishikori

Rankings are 42 and 48. They haven’t played before.

This could be a cracker! Lopez served exceptionally well against Garcia-Lopez yesterday and is playing on home soil. He probably prefers the hard courts but is comfortable on the clay. He has played 2 tough 3 setters so far though so could start to slow down if this goes the distance.

Nishikori hasn’t had the toughest route to the third round. Riba quit after the first set and Machado didn’t put up too much resistance. He will be a little more rested than his opponent.

Lopez has the bigger serve although if some of the earlier games run longer than expected they could start quite late. The temperature will be cooler then and this could slow down  his serve a little.

Over the last 3 months Nishikori has held serve 90% of the time on clay to Lopez’ 81%.  The Japanese player has much better stats on return of serve too. He creates more break opportunities and converts a higher percentage of break points.

Back Nishikori with half stake from the start and use the other half to back him on serve.

Update: Nishikori’s first service games was a nervy one and he was broken. After that both men served well but the set was lost. The second set saw both men being broken once and it was settled in a tight tie break.

Lopez won 6-4, 7-6. 



Gasquet and Monfils should have a good battle today. Normally Gasquet would be a strong favourite for me but his serve just isn’t quite right at the moment. They have never met on clay. I’ll watch the opening few games before getting involved.

Update: Not the best match ever seen. Monfils won 6-4, 7-6.

Melzer v Montanes: How will Melzer’s heart rate be today? In his match yesterday and the one against haase he had to take a break because of an increased heart rate. It didnt seem to affect hsi play and if anything improved it! However as soon as the medic is called the market starts to panic which is uncomfortable if you have an open back bet on him. If he continues his run of form then Melzer should take this match but I expect to see 3 sets.

Update: Melzer won 6-7, 6-3, 6-2.

Almagro v Davydenko: It could be that anyone trading this one will get a dose of Melzer’s increased heart rate. Almagro’s form has dipped a little in recent matches. He looked like he was in trouble against an inspired Andujar yesterday but found a way to get the job done. Davydenko has come through two potentially tricky matches against Roger-Vasselin and Dolgopolov who I thought had a good chance to beat the Russian. I can see Davydenko taking this one and will be trying a lay on Almagro from the start.

Update: The early lay of Almagro worked out well with Davydenko taking the first break. The Russian led 5-2 but Almagro pulled it back to a tie break which he won easily. A tight second set saw just 1 break of serve and that was enough for Almagro to win the match and move into the top 10 in the world rankings.

Almagro won 7-6, 6-3.

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