I am having difficulty deciding which matches do put on here today so will give my briefer thoughts on a few matches that stand out.
Istomin v Stakhovsky: Istomin won their only previous meeting on clay which was back in 2008. On that occasion it went to 3 tie break sets. Stakhovsky is poor on clay but is a better player than he was 3 years ago. Istomin isn’t exactly Rafa Nadal either though and I think Stak could win this one today. As I have said before he has a style that really should translate well onto the clay courts but his touch play requires him to be high in confidence which he isn’t. However Istomin is probably a good opponent to get that confidence flowing again. 5 of their 12 sets have been tie breaks and I’m going for Stak to win in 3.
Update: istomin quit when the score was 1-5 in the first set. Bets void.
Youzhny will be expected to breeze past Matthias Bachinger and the market has him at 1.25 . However the German has been performing extremely well on the Challenger tour with a tournament win, another final appearance and a semi final in the past few weeks. Those were all on hard courts but he is playing in front of his home crowd here and will get a lift from that. Also Youzhny seems to think he gets paid more if he plays 3 sets every match 😉 . I expect the Russian to win but he ought to trade higher than 1.25.
Update: Youzhny was soon a break down in the first set. Bachinger was 5-2 up and i think had 3 set points but Youzhny came back to take the game and then the set.
Youzhny won 7-5, 6-2.
Baghdatis v Benneteau: Hard to decide who’s the bigger mug here. These 2 players or me for even considering trying to predict the outcome! If you are wanting to experience Melzer’s increased heart rate then try putting some cash on either player. You won’t be disappointed. Baghdatis has been so poor lately although he has been to 3 sets in his last 3 matches. Benneteau narrowly lost to Nieminen in a third set tie break in his last outing. This is a match to watch to see who is coming out with fewer unforced errors. If Baggy can’t beat Benneteau then he should enquire if his old job in the kebab shop is still going. He has had a couple of semi final appearances here which suggests he like the set up in Munich.
Update: Both served very well in the firsts et which went to a tie break. Baggy won 7-6, 6-3.
Andersson and De Bakker are at evens in the Estoril Open. Anderson has been in decent form while this will be De Bakker’s first game on clay. Estoril’s courts are not the fastest but Anderson’s serve could carry him through this one.
Update: Poor quality tennis over all. Anderson won 5-7, 6-3, 6-2. By the end of the first set I was red and decided to move onto another game. Some you win…….
Nishikori and Tipsarevic meet again, this time in Serbia. Tips has won their last 2 matches ( both this year ) with every set being 6-4. This is their first meeting on clay though. Tipsarevic is in front of his home crowd which gives him an advantage although Nishikori is probably a better clay court player. I am expecting 3 sets this time around but still think Tipsarevic will come through.
Update: Probably the best match of the day. Nishikori raced to a lead in the first set. Tipsarevic called for the medic for a problem with his leg but was able to carry on. He lost the first set but came back strongly in the second to level the match. Just before the second set was won Tip’s wife could be seen telling him to quit, apparently worried at him doing some more damage to his leg. However he carried on. The third set was more scrappy but it was Tipsarevic who came through to win 2-6, 6-2, 7-6.