Youzhny and Cilic seem to both like playing 3 set matches. Whilst Youzhny hasn’t had one so far the last 3 times these 2 played it went the distance. Both Cilic’s matches this week have been 3 setters and he has been a little fortunate in both. If Kamke hadn’t imploded in the last round Cilic wouldn’t have come back into it.
Youzhny has been much the better player this week beating an in form Berlocq and also local boy Reister. He leads the head to heads 4-1.
Cilic will want to do well this week so he goes into his home tournament with plenty of confidence. I’d expect him to start better than he did against Kamke s it should be a close firsts et as Youzhny has been starting his matches very well. In 4 of their 5 matches the player winning the first set won the match.
I won’t be getting involved from the start as I want to see how Cilic serves in the early games but I am favouring Youzhny to get the win. The previous matches suggest it will be a 3 setter.
Update: As expected we did see 3 sets. Cilic started very well and Youzhny was a little below par. Cilic won the opening set but Youzhny came back in another tight set to level at 1 set all. The third set could have gone either way and both had their chances but it was Youzhny who came through 4-6, 6-4, 7-6.
Monfils meets fellow countryman Simon. Simon won their only previous match which was on a hard court a couple of years ago.
Simon beat Nieminen who I expected to beat him but it was a poor standard match. Monfils has, overall, been the better player this week and has yet to lose a set. He came through a tricky game with Stepanek in the last round.
Monfils is the better player on clay and even when not playing well he can pull out a big serve to save himself. This could be a scrappy match as they have probably practiced a lot together and will know each others games well.
Strongly in favour of Monfils to reach the semi final.
Update: This match just didn’t feel right. One of the early rallies was 61 shots! It seemed like a warm up in practice with neither player really being aggressive. On 2 or 3 occasions I noticed unusually large bets being placed on Simon and on several occasions the market just didn’t seem to react as you’d expect. Monfils didn’t look like he wanted to win the first set and it went to Simon. In the second set it was more of the same until half way through when Monfils decided to play his more natural aggressive style. This worked and he took the set. It looked as though Monfils was going to take the match but bizzarely it ended in a bagel to Simon.
Simon won 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.
Verdasco v Melzer: Verdasco’s new haircut seems to have altered his mental state too! He’s been playing more like his old self but today will be his biggest test.
Melzer pretty much destroyed Fognini in the last round and also seems to be playing better than his recent form makes us expect from him.
Verdasco leads the head to heads 5-2 ans 2-1 on clay although Melzer won their last match which was on a clay court.
Both can be very fragile mentally and something as small as a new start/new (severe) haircut could be enough to temporarily boost Verdasco’s confidence. Anyway I’ll be testing that theory as I am going for him to win this one. Melzer has let me down too many times lately.
Update: Close match with Verdasco taking the opening set, Melzer the second. In the third set Verdasco won a break of serve but was broken back straight away. Verdasco broke again and served out the match.
Verdasco won 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.