Another 4am start! I was looking to start at 5 but Fish plays Tomic at 4:00 and it looks like easy money to me 😉 (So glad I got up for the “easy money”! Fish struggled in the wind but as soon as it dropped it was business as usual. Tough to keep faith with Fish towards the end of set 2 though)
Stepanek v Ferrer:
With Ferrer you know that when you put your money on him that he is going to fight for every point. Obviously he doesn’t always win but it feels so much worse when you back someone who then plays like a complete spanner.
Head to heads are 4-3 to Ferrer. On hard courts its 2-1 ( one of the games was indoors).
Stepanek reached the semi final last year so has the motivation of defending those points. He likes to play a little serve and volly and that can work well against Ferrer. They have played four best of 5 matches in the past ( all the slams except the US Open and a Davis Cup match) and every time it has gone to 5 sets.
Ferrer needed 3 sets to get past Ebden in the last round although Ebden played a great first set. Stepanek has had a softer draw with Devvarman and then Chiudinelli who took it to 3 sets.
Its not easy to see why Ferrer struggles so much with Stepanek other than Step’s eagerness to come to the net so often. Stepanek has lost 9 of the last 10 matches he has played against top 10 players.
I have to go with the Spaniard as you can never be certain how Stepanek will perform. Even though he is away from his favoured clay I expect Ferrer to get through this one although based on their previous matches it is going to be closely fought.
Update: Ferrer had real problems with Stepanek’s game for the first 4 games. Then the Spaniard took over to take the set easily. Much closer in the second set and it was Stepanek who served for the set at 6-5. However he bottled it and was broken easily. Ferrer took the tie break.
Ferrer won 6-2, 7-6.
Petkovic v Pavlyuchenkova:
Pav has played less tennis this week as Azarenka pulled out of the tournament before their match ( which makes a change from quitting straight after the first set ). If Azarenka had been fit then it is very unlikely that Pav would have still been here.
Petkovic battled back well from a set down against Bartoli to lead 5-1 in the third set. She then did her best to lose but ended up winning 7-5.
Petkovic has the stronger serve under pressure and loves to attack her opponent’s second serves. Thats quite handy as Pavlyuchenkova’s second serve is like something out of the WTA.
Pav likes to take advantage of short returns from the other player but she is unlikely to get many of those from Petkovic. The match-up of playing styles would seem to favour Petkovic and she is my pick once again.
Always a possibility of 3 sets between the higher ranked players but I can see this being over in 2.
Update: Very close in the opening games and not easy to read at all. So I put my trust in my own judgement which proved correct.
Petkovic won 6-3, 7-6.