Tipsarevic v Almagro:
Surprisingly they have never played before.
Both have been in great recent form. Almagro hasn’t lost a set so far. Tipsarevic lost just 1 set to Querrey in the first round.
Tipsarevic reached the semi final in Madrid beating Djokovic in the quarter final. He was disappointed in his performance against Federer in the semi final and I didn’t think it was a huge surprise that he lost easily against Wawrinka in Rome the following week. He then led Serbia to victory in the World Team Cup beating Berdych in the final.
Almagro’s last 2 losses came to Ferrer ( Madrid ) and Berdych (Rome). The week before the French Open he won the title in Nice ending Brian Baker’s amazing week.
Almagro starts at 1.48 against the world ranked number 8 who has won 7 in a row on clay, 7 of his last 8 against big servers and 6 of his last 7 best of 5 set matches. Almagro has lost 4 in a row against top 10 players.
This match is much more even than the price suggests. Both can serve big and have been very consistent. Almagro has a slight edge with the better clay court pedigree. Each set could be settled by a single game and the first player to falter on serve could lose the set.
We have the option to lay Almagro but I will wait to get an idea of who looks stronger. I still expect that to be difficult but if I can get evens or better on Almagro I will take it.
Almagro to win in 4 sets.
Lepchenko v Kvitova:
They have played just once before which was last year in Miami. Kvitova won 6-1, 6-2.
What a week Lepchenko had. She beat Jankovic, Schiavone and Pervak in 3 sets. JJ and Schiavone are below their best but Schiavone comes alive at Roland Garros reaching the final last year and winning the title in 2010. Lepchenko’s win over her wasn’t due to a poor match from the Italian. In the first set it looked like Schiavone’s amazing run at the French for the last few years was going to continue but Lepchenko kept playing her aggressive style of tennis spurred on by the fact that a win would get her a place in America’s Olympic team. She almost choked towards the end of the third set but held it together.
Kvitova has suffered from some erratic form. She has progressed fairly well in a lot of events but losses often came when she started as a strong favourite. She has had quite an easy run to this stage of the tournament.
The top players step up their intensity at the Slams. Kvitova has won 8 of her last 9 Grand Slam matches. She will need to be on her game today though against a highly motivated opponent. Lepchenko has the big groundstrokes that can take advantage of weak second serves. She showed signs of being a choker against Schiavone but hopefully that experience will leave her better prepared if she find herself in a position to take a set or even the match.
I expect Kvitova to get the win but I am waiting for a price well above the starting price of 1.20 before getting involved. When that price doubles I will start to get interested. A poor serving performance from Kvitova could allow Lepchenko to take this close.