Souza v Haase:
Haase has been in pretty decent form so far this week. He has beaten 3 players recognised as being highly competent on clay. His serve has been patchy at times and against Seppi his serve was erratic. I did send him a message on twitter asking if it felt as scrappy as it looked. No reply as yet 😉
Souza’s ranking is more than double that of Haase. He has only lost 1 set so far this week and beat Andujar in the quarter finals in straight sets.
I see Haase winning this match but especially having watched his last match I can’t back at 1.41 . I will be waiting for a higher price to back Haase. If he was serving well I would be happier to put part stake on him from the start but if its going to be another error filled match I want my money in as high as possible. Anything over 1.85 will start to attract my backs. I wouldn’t be surprised to see 3 sets but more likely to be Haase in 2.
Chela v Montanes:
Top seed Chela’s level of play improved against Granollers who was probably grateful to get a day off. Chela managed to avoid yet another slow start.
Montanes looked superb in the first few games of his quarter final against Giraldo. He started with 3 aces. He won an immediate break of serve and won the set easily. He needed a tie break to take the second set but must feel he has a chance of reaching the final.
Chela leads the head to heads 4-1. All their matches were played on clay and the most recent was in February and Chela won in 3 sets.
The head to heads suggest a Chela win and if he can maintain his excellent level from the last game then he will progress. Montanes has been aggressive on return of serve but I am unsure of the reliablity of his serve under pressure. I won’t be involved from the start. Its usually easy to spot when Chela isn’t feeling sharp as he will broken in his very first game. He always manages to hold easily after than first game though so I will be on him, most likely, from mid way through the set.
I think we’ll see more unforced errors from Montanes today.
Verdasco v Stepanek:
I thought Verdasco might have a problem with Davydenko on a hard court but he came through in straight sets. His return to some sort of form seems to continue.
Stepanek came through a tight 3 setter with Nieminen in the quarter final. He has also beaten Petzschner this week.
Head to heads are 3-3 with Verdasco winning their last match which was at Wimbledon this year. He came back from 2 sets down to win 9-7 in the 5th set.
This is a really tough one to call without seeing how they start the match but I feel that Verdasco needs this more than Stepanek. When you have been near the top of the game it must be sould destroying to be unable to reproduce that form. The Davis Cup seems to be giving players a boost as we have seen from Djokovic and Granollers and the same seems to be the case with Verdasco.
This won’t be an easy win for either player but my money’s on Verdasco.