9:00 – Rufin v Chardy (Live video bet365.com)
Rankings are 171 and 59. They haven’t played before.
Rufin prefers clay and spends most of his time on the C hallenger tour. He has a mediocre serve and holds 77% of the time but bear in mind that he is usually playing opponents of a much lower standard than Chardy.
Chardy has had an excellent season with some big scalps. He holds serve 83% of the time and hits his first serve 56% winning 76% of points on it.
Rufin’s return of serve stats are better than Chardy’s but again he was returning serves from lower ranked players.
I’d expect Chardy to take this. Back him on serve or from the start.
Update: Chardy won 6-0, 6-2.
14:00 – Hanescu v Granollers (Live video on bet365.com)
Rankings are 52 and 87. Head to heads are 2-0 to Hanescu ( both on clay).
Hanescu is most comfortable on clay. He is also infront of his home crowd although that didn’t help him last year when he lost in the first round.
Granollers reached the final of a Challenger event last week on clay which will have given him a lot of confidence for this week.
Hanescu hasn’t played on clay for a while so may take a few games to make the adjustment. He starts at 1.35 on Betfair which I feel is too low. Granollers is a very competent clay court player and could take the Romanian close.
Trading options are to lay Hanescu from the start, my thinking being thast if he takes a couple of games to get used to clay again there is a strong chance of a break. Once he gets going I would expect him to hold fairly easily so can be backed on serve ( hopefully by that time on a better price than 1.35)
Other than that scalping can be used and as this is on clay, 15-40 opportunities against Granollers can be taken too.
I would expect a close match with Hanescu coming out on top.
Update: Hanescu was all over his opponent in the first set and won it easily. He has a reputation for throwing matches and this one was certainly suspect.
Having won the first set 6-2 he lost the next 2 sets 6-2, 6-1. Obviously this can happen but it was his manner during the last set especially that suggests he threw the match intentionally. I didnt think he would do it in front of his home crowd.