It makes a refreshing change that we get to the semi final stage and every match can genuinely go either way. That’s great for tennis but makes our task of deciding who will win that bit harder.
We also have the Wimbledon draw this morning and I will be doing my usual preview during Saturday.
I will avoid the matches that are included in the betting tips.
Wickmayer is certainly one of the surprises of the week. Kvitova and Kirilenko were beaten in 3 sets. Vesnina has had a pretty good week herself. Wins over Ivanovic and Li are impressive.
Vesnina leads the head to heads 2-1 including a win on grass although that was in 2009.
Service stats for the last couple of weeks are slightly better for Wickmayer but stats on return of serve are much better for Vesnina. I will be favouring the Russian but won’t back her below evens ( her SP is 1.70 ). Both are more than capable of choking when ahead so I think we will see a few decent trading swings.
Update: Wickmayer actually looked the better player for 2 or 3 games but then her game started to fall apart.
Vesnina won 6-2, 6-0.
I watched Muguruza beat Cibulkova yesterday and have to say that some of her hitting was little short of brutal. Her first couple of rounds were fairly easy as she was up against flakes in Davis and Barthel. Cibulkova certainly has flakish tendencies but is a level above the other two.
Flipkens has had tougher opponents and only Schiavone was able to take a set from her.
I think this one will be close as both have served well. Flipkens has a little more experience of the latter stages of events. However Muguruza leads the stats in all categories over the last 2 weeks and I will be favouring her. Flipkens starts at 1.60 and I will look to lay her below 1.40 .
Update: Maybe the occasion was too much for Muguruza. Whatever the reason she wasn’t the same player who beat Cibulkova.
Flipkens served well and won 6-3, 6-1.
I have never been a fan of Garcia Lopez. This is probably more to do with losing trades than anything else! He is so unpredictable and just when he appears to have found some form and you put your money on him he turns into a UE machine and runs off with your money. So here we are again. He has had 3 respectable wins in straight sets over Hanescu, Brands and Hernych and now faces Wawrinka.
Wawrinka has had 6 tight sets so far in his straight sets wins. Yesterday Chardy looked like he was going to take their match into a third set but was broken serving for the set at 5-4 and Wawrinka took the tie break.
Wawrinka leads the heads to heads 5-2. They have only played once in the last 2 years which was on clay ( Wawrinka’s best surface).
Wawrinka’s consistency has improved greatly under his new coach. Whilst I expect a close match I have to go with Wawrinka but not at 1.30 . I would need a price above 1.70 before I get involved. Chances are we won’t see such a price but I feel to get involved much lower than that is too much of a risk
Update: Much easier for Wawrinka than I expected. Unfortunately it was the second set which was closest.
Wawrinka won 6-1, 6-4
Malisse v Mahut and Lopez v Dodig are very similar in so far as they will be decided by such small margins.
Dodig has been continuing with his aggressive tactics and has backed that up with excellent serving but when Lopez’ serve is working well on grass it lifts his whole game. If forced to pick a winner I would go with Lopez but it’s based on no more than gut feeling.
Update: Dodig took it to a tie break in the opening set but lost all his fight in the second.
Lopez won 7-6, 6-1.
Malisse leads the head to heads 2-1 over Mahut. He is better on return of serve which I feel will be the difference but don’t expect many breaks in this one.
Update: Malisse got upset over a couple of line calls and lost control. He was sniping at the umpire at the changeover and his bad language was out of order and clearly heard. He was broken in the very next game and he couldn’t get back. He seemed to have calmed down into the second set but another “bad” decision set him off again. Mahut took advantage.
Mahut won 6-3, 6-3.