More early starts for this week! First match starts at 4am.
Verdasco v Llodra:
Verdasco has found some better form in the latter half of 2011 and a couple of weeks ago beat Gasquet 6-2, 6-1 ( not sure why it wasn’t best of 5). That match was on clay but shows how far his game has come in the last few months.
Llodra went out in the second round of the US Open and the first round of Metz.
Head to heads are 2-2 and Verdasco won their last match in August this year which was a tight straight sets win.
Verdasco starts at 1.32 which is a little low. I would prefer 1.50 which we may get in the opening few games. I expect him to come through this one and will be far too strong for LLodra.
Update: Easy win for Verdasco 6-2, 6-4.
Chiudinelli v Garcia-Lopez:
Garcia-Lopez has maintained the same level for the whole season. His ranking hasn’t moved much in the last 12 months. He has been struggling for wins recently although he has gone down fighting in most of his matches. Last week he lost in 3 sets to tournament runner up Donald Young.
Chiudinelli has reached a semi final and a quarter final in recent hard court Challenger events. He has had to come through qualifying in Japan beating Karol Beck and Michael Berrer. He won both matches in straight sets. Interestingly Berrer knocked him out of last week’s qualifying tournament and Beck beat him in that recent Challenger semi final.
Winning and losing can become habits in their own right. Garcia-Lopez has more experience and isn’t playing badly at all. He has so few wins recently and although he has been playing higher ranked players than Chiudinelli when losses start to stack up its tough to turn that around.
Chiudinelli has experienced more of that winning feeling over the last few weeks and the fact that he beat 2 players in qualifying who had very recently inflicted defeats on him suggests to me that his confidence and form are solid.
This will be very tight though and he will have to fight all the way but he is my pick to win.
Update: Best profit of the day for me! I layed Garcia-Lopez at 1.57 and 1.60 and greened at 1.60 on Chiudinelli’s ladder.
Chiudinelli won 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.
Roddick v Anderson:
Roddick leads the head to heads 2-0. Both matches were in 2011.
This is Roddick’s first match since he lost to Nadal in the US Open quarter final. He was starting to find some form in America and also reached the semi final of the Winston-Salem Open where he lost to John Isner.
Anderson has the big serve that many players can’t cope with. He reached the third round of the US Open and hasn’t lost a first round match for a while. This one is the toughest first round he has faced.
Roddick won this event in 2008. He didn’t play last year so may see this week as a chance to get some ranking points.
Anderson’s serve can keep the match tight but the head to heads suggest that Roddick will be able to break that serve down.
1.50 is a fair price for Roddick but he will need his serve to be as solid as it was in the US section of the tour. Obviously at least one tie break is a possibility and Roddick has one of the best records in tie breaks.
Roddick to win in 2 tight sets.
Update: Roddick’s serve was well below its best. Mid way through the first set a look at the serve stats for both players showed that Anderson was holding his serve easier. Roddick is often in that position but still manages to nich the set in a tie break. Not today. Anderson took the set and was able to close the match in straight sets.
Anderson won 6-4, 7-5.