Generally yesterday was a day where favourites came through in the mens tournament. The main exception was ofcourse Almagro losing from being up by 2 sets to love before losing to Kubot. John Isnr almost came up with the win of his career taking Nadal to 5 sets.
First up is Nishikori and Stakhovsky. Stak seemed to be down and out with a very poor first set in the first round but came back to life to win in 4 sets. Nishikori had no problems with Lu. These two seem very even. They haven’t played before. A slight concern is Nishikori’s recent stomach problems but if fit I’d be favouring the Japanese player. We could well see at least 1 tie break and that would favour Stak. He lost a tie break this week but over the last few tournaments he has an excellent record in them. Nishikori lost his last 3 tie breaks. This is a match to monitor for 2 or 3 games before jumping in.
Update: Nishikori was poor although improved his serving in the second set. Stakhovsky won 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6.
Tipsarevic v Riba: Tipsarevic starts at 1.46 which is a back from the start for me. They haven’t played before and Riba is a very capable claycourter but Tips lifts his game for the big events. He always gives 100% and is a class above the Spaniard. Probably a tough first set but Riba needs to take it if he is to have a chance.
Update: Riba was never in it. Tipsarevic won 6-1, 6-3, 6-0.
Youzhny seems to be in a pattern of playing one excellent match followed by a bad one. He played well in the first round. Kukushkin won their last match which was on a hard court last year. They have never played on clay. This just looks like a match that Youzhny will find it hard to be motivated from the start so don’t be surprised to see him falling behind in the first set.
Update: Youzhny took the first set but went behind in the second. Kukushkin served for the set but was broken and Youzhny took the set and also the third.
Youzhny won 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.
Steve Darcis beat local man Llodra in the first round so must fancy his chances against Petzschner. The German is in great form though. From memory he had a similar run at the same stage of last season and then faded but I expect him to keep going for a ittle longer. Petschner needs his serve though as he will be lost without it. Darcis served very well against Llodra.I’ll watch a couple of games before entering but I am looking to get on Petzschner. He starts at 1.71 . He seems to enjoy a fight at the moment and thats the type of player I prefer to have my money on.
Update: Petzschner’s fade may have started today. Darcis served well again and won 7-5, 6-4, 6-4.
Seppi came through as an underdog yesterday and could cause some problems for Bellucci. Seppi has been written off so many times but he is a very solid claycourter when he’s in the mood. He’s serving very well and Bellucci will find it tough to break him down. They have only played once which was on clay last year. Seppi won in 3 sets.
Update: Seppi caused Bellucci no problems at all! Bellucci won 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
Wawrinka’s poor first set in his first round match gives us a starting price a little higher than perhaps you’d expect at 1.38 . Schoorel is ranked 94 places below Wawrinka but has a couple of Challenger tournament wins on clay recently. Stan acts as if the first set is an extension of the warm up and doesn’t seem to switch on until the second set. I’ll be waiting for a higher price before backing Wawrinka which will give me a chance to get a feel for how he is performing.
Update: Schoorel started well and had several break points but once Wawrinka got the break he was on top after that. Wawrinka won 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.