Friday’s matches, 24th Feb

Copa Clara – 17:00

Wawrinka v Nishikori:

They have never played before which I think actually favours Nishikori. Compared to other surfaces he is a bit of an unknown quantity on clay. He and his team will know all about Wawrinka on clay and will have devised a game plan accordingly.

Both players are qute likely to make slow starts although Wawrinka’s recent matches have seen an improvement on this habit. Not so for Nishikori who started slowly against Ferrero and lost the opening set against Hanescu.

Wawrinka seems to have real concentration problems and just seems to “tune out” at some stage of most matches. Once Nishikori has played himself into the match he is very consistent and could frustrate Wawrinka if things aren’t quite going to plan for the Swiss number 2.

1.73 on Wawrinka is probably a fair start price. He reached the semi finals last year so plenty of motivation for him. I think he will get off to the better start but this won’t be over in 2 sets.

If we do see 3 sets then Nishikori has to be my strong favourite to take the match.


Memphis – 22:00

Isner v Melzer:

Isner served 22 aces in his straight sets win over Donald Young. He also kept up his 100% tie break resord for 2012. He has won 8 so far.

Melzer has made a good start to 2012. However he is still making slow starts to his matches and has had to come back from a set down in both his games this week. He has also needed a tie break in both third sets to move through to the next round.

Their only previous meeting was in 2008 at these championships. Melzer won in 3 sets. Isner was a wild card entry that year and things are very different this year.

Isner doesn’t have the best groundstrokes in the world but he makes the best of the skills that he has. He uses his height well on serve and usually proves difficult  to break. Melzer himself will have to serve at his best and hope to get a look at a few second serves to secure that elusive break.

Isner reached the final in 2010 but went out in the first round to Del Potro in 2011. Like most Americans he plays his best tennis in his home country and whilst I think this will be close with at least 1 tie break that all favours Isner.

There will be massive pressure on Melzer to serve well and he is the more likely player to have a bad service game or 2.

Isner to win in 2 tight sets.

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