Nieminen v Andreev:
They have played twice before. Both matches were on clay and Andreev won each time.
In best of 5 set matches they have both lost 4 of their last 5. Nieminen has lost 7 Grand Slam matches in a row.
The stat on Nieminen in Grand Slams sounds terrible but when you look at his opponents it isn’t so bad. Defeats to Nalbandian, Verdasco, Almagro, Ferrer ( twice) and Murray are nothing to be ashamed of. He lost to Gimeno Traver in the 2010 US Open although they were ranked 58 and 59 at the time.
Andreev is having the better season on the clay. He reached the semi finals in Casablanca and came through the qualifying rounds in Madrid to reach the second round. He withdrew from that match with a shoulder injury that also forced him to withdraw from Rome. He did play in Dusseldorf last week losing to Florian Mayer in straight sets. The injury was a strain and he has had long enough to get that back in shape.
This should be a close match. Nieminen is the better player over all but Andreev plays his best tennis on clay. Andreev has shown better recent form and I think he has a slight edge here. Nieminen starts at 1.68 which isn’t an ideal price to lay from the start. I will wait before getting involved but will be looking for a lower price to get my lay on Nieminen.
Update: That worked quite well as long as you weren’t caught by the retirement. Andreev took the opening set. I then layed him and hedged out when he was a break up in the second. Andreev retired early in the third set.
Nieminen won 3-6, 6-2, 2-1(ret)
Chela v Baghdatis:
Head to heads are 3-2 to Baghdatis who has won their last 3 matches. They have never played on clay.
Chela is a clay court specialist but has lost his last 4 matches on the dirt. He has also lost 5 in a row when starting as underdog. Baggy has lost 5 of his last 6 when starting as favourite. This could be close!
Baghdatis reached the quarter finals of the BMW Open on clay earlier this month losing to Haas who was on an amazing run in front of his home crowd.
Chela has shown small glimpses of his best form in his recent matches but just can’t keep it going throughout a match.
This could come down to fitness and Baghdatis is well ahead in that category. There are rumours that Chela is not 100%. Both are quite capable of a slow start although I have seen signs in Chela’s recent matches that he was trying to be aggressive from the start. This could indicate he is worried about being able to last in long matches so he is trying to get the job done quickly.
I will have part stake on Baggy from the start and should Chela get an early lead I will add to the back bet at a higher price.
Update: Good performance from Baghdatis. He won 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.