***Update: On the men’s final was played yesterday due to rain delays. Thiem beat Berrettini 6-7, 7-6, 10-8.
The men’s third place play off will start at 11 am as will the women’s 3rd place play off. The final between Kvitova and Svitolina will take place on Friday. ****
Firstly the usual message….
Exhibition = REDUCED STAKES
Svitolina made a good start to the week yesterday. Her match with Sevastova gave us a few good trading opportunities. Svitolina was a break up in both sets but Sevastova pulled her back each time.
Berrettini was struggling to make any progress against the Bautista Agut serve but a late break gave him the second set and he took the deciding match tie break.
Thiem’s match with Sinner had just 1 break of serve. In the second set tie break there was even just 1 mini break.
A single break was enough to give Kvitova the first set against Bertens. Bertens took a 2-0 lead in set 2 but then lost 6 games in a row.
Thiem (2.04) v Berrettini (1.87)
Due to start at 11 am
Thiem leads their previous matches 3-2. Thiem’s last win was last month in the gimmicky Ultimate Tennis Showdown. He won in 4 sets. They met 3 times in 2019. Berrettini won indoors at the year end finals and also on an outdoor hard court in Shanghai in October. Thiem won indoors in Vienna in 3 sets. Thiem’s other win was on clay at the French Open in May 2018.
Thiem has better overall results in the last 12 months and also in 2020. Berrettini is stronger on grass. Thiem had a couple of excellent results in 2016 and also made the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2017. Last season Berrettini reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, the semi final in Halle and took the title in Stuttgart.
Thiem’s serve was strong in the last match. As we have seen from him in lockdown his return of serve has been a little toothless.
Berrettini’s serve was also the best part of his game against Bautista Agut. Batista Agut was giving very little away on serve which must have been frustrating. Berrettini has played on 3 different surfaces in 3 weeks. It isn’t easy to make that adjustment quickly but he has done it superbly.
My gut feeling is that Berrettini takes this but it really is a coin toss. I doubt that we will see many breaks of serve.
Laying the first set winner is a good option. This could easily be settled in 3 tie breaks.
Kvitova (1.3) v Svitolina (4.1)
Due to start at 12:30 pm
Kvitova leads their previous matches 7-2. Svitolina won their most recent meeting in Singapore in October in 2018. That was indoors and she won in 2 sets. That broke a 6 match winning streak for Kvitova. All their other matches were on hard courts. Only 1 of their matches ended in 3 sets.
Their overall long term results are pretty even but Kvitova has stronger results in 2020. Kvitova’s grass record is significantly better. Svitolina has made improvements to her grass game and reached the semi final at Wimbledon last season.
Svitolina played just her second match in lockdown yesterday. Her first match was a poor loss on clay to Golubic. Yesterday she played much better and beat Sevastova in straight sets. There were a few price swings. She took a strong early lead and was 4-1 up. Sevastova fought back and served for the set at 6-5 but was broken to love. Svitolina easily took the tie break. Svitolina took an immediate lead in set 2 but Sevastova fought back again for 3-3. Svitolina won the next 3 games to take the match.
Kvitova has beaten Bertens and Petkovic in straight sets this week. She was broken just once in each match.
Svitolina should be competitive today. Lay Kvitova around 1.20 and remove liability around 1.50. Back Kvitova if she loses set 1.
WTA 3rd place place off
Sevastova (2.12)v Bertens (1.75)
Due to start at 3 pm
Bertens leads their previous matches 2-1. All their matches were on clay in Madrid!. Bertens won in 2019 and 2018 and Sevastova won in 2017.
Their 12 month overall results strongly favour Bertens. She has also made a better start to 2020. Sevastova has slightly better grass results.
Bertens looked a little rusty yesterday against Kvitova. It was her first match since February. I would expect her to play better today. She had some excellent grass results in 2019 making the third round at Wimbledon, Semi finals at Eastbourne and the final in Hertogenbosch.
Sevastova has had very little success on grass outside Mallorca. That tournament really boosts her results on this surface. She has played well this week.
I give Bertens the advantage for this one. Sevastova will compete well.
Back Bertens around 2.20 to 2.30. Lay the set 1 winner.
ATP 3rd place play off
Bautista Agut (1.31) v Sinner 3.8)
Due to start at 4:30 pm
This will be their first meeting.
Their win percentages in the last 12 months are quite even although most of Sinner’s best results were in Challenger tournaments.
Sinner has played well this week. He had a tough 3 set win over retired Tommy Haas. Yesterday his match with Dominic Thiem saw just 1 break of serve.
Bautista Agut has a strong record on grass. He reached the semi final at Wimbledon last year. This week he has won the opening set in both his matches. He beat Struff in a match tie break and lost to Berrettini also in a match tie break.
If Bautista Agut can find a little motivation today I expect him to be too consistent for Sinner. The sets will be close though and I think we will see a higher price on him.
Lay Bautista Agut around 1.20 to 1.25 and remove liability at 1.50. Back him if he loses set 1.