Obviously not so many games this week so we get to concentrate more on individual match. Be careful not to make the mistake that I did yesterday and over trade games.
Falla v Chela: Chela is a strong favourite for this one but he has made a very slow start to his last 2 matches. Falla has had a great tournament so far taking out Florian Mayer and Starace. He had to come through the qualifying rounds so has played a lot more tennis than Chela. Tiredness could become a factor and I feel that the opening set is vital for both players. They have only played once on clay and Falla won in straight sets. Once Chela has got past his opening couple of service games I will look to back him. He was broken to love in his first service game against Rosol and also broken early by Anderson so I can’t back from the start. I think this would be more even if Falla hadn’t played 3 qualifying matches as well as 3 tough main draw matchees but am going with Chela to progress.
Update: What a match! Chela again made a slow start and was poor on serve. This allowed Falla to take the first set. Chela came back strong in the second set with a break in the first game. He took the set easily. The next set was surprisingly one sided and went Falla’s way and it looked as though the Argentinian was on his way out. However he fought back to take the match into a 5th set. Chela won an early break and managed to hold on although there were break chances in most of the games.
I had a small red going into the 5th set and broke my rule to avoid deciding sets. I got on Chela and then sweated while he stumbled to the win.
Ljubicic has beaten Nadal a couple of times but never on clay. When you think that Isner took Nadal to 5 sets and Lorenzi took him to 3 sets in Rome then its quite possible that Ljubicic will raise rafa’s price above 1.04.
Update: Ljubicic pushed Nadal’s price up a little in the first few games but Nadal won 7-5, 6-3, 6-3.
Ferrer and Monfils are in the 4th set of their match from yesterday with Monfils leading 2 sets to 1. Ferrer is 2-0 in the 4th set and will serve first. Ferrer struggled with his serve and Monfils served well overall. Can monfils continue to hit the great winners today? A break in a match often favours the prematch favourite and for that reason I expect Ferrer to win the 4th set and take the 5th. I have my green from the first couple of sets though and won’t be going back in on this one.
Update: Ferrer came out like a man on a mission. He won the 4th set very easily and was strong favourite to take the 5th. Monfils had other ideas and was striking the ball superbly. His serving was also solid in the final set and although Ferrer almost pulled off the win Monfils took the set and the match 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, 1-6, 8-6.
Simon v Soderling: Simon had a good first week in front of the home fans. Fish pretty much rolled over in their match and i don’t see Soderling doing that today. Soderling has has some of his greatest moment on a claycourt at Roland Garros and will be very pumped up for this match. I expect the French crowd to play their part to attempt to wind him up but Soderling is well used to being unpopular and usually thrives on it. The Swede has had an easy route to the 4th round and has lost just 1 set so far. I have to go with Soderling for a win in 3 or 4 sets.
Update: very easy match to trade as Soderling went into a 5-0 lead. He broke early in the second set too and whilst Simon forced a tie break in the third set it was Soderling who won 6-2, 6-3, 7-6.
How will Murray’s ankle be for his match against Troicki? Murray is obviously a strong favourite with a 3-0 head to head record. Troicki has never taken a set off the Scot although they have never played on clay.Murray reportedly suffered no serious damage to his ankle. Troicki has been suffering from food poisoning which will sap his energy. With Wimbledon just 3 weeks away I think if Murray takes to the court today then he and his team consider him fit as he won’t want to risk making the injury worse for the grass courts.