Friday’s matches – Cincinnati

Simon v Murray:

These two players had very contrasting matches in the last round. Murray had a pretty easy win over Bogomolov which he won in straight sets. Simon was involved in a marathon of a match with David Ferrer. He had chances to win the match in straight sets and missed a sitter of a volley at match point  on Ferrer’s serve. He then lost the tie break and had to come through in 3 sets. That will have taken its toll on him both mentally and physically and he has also had less time than Murray to recover.

Murray leads the head to heads 6-1 and has won the last 6. In those 6 wins Murray has lost just 1 set which was in their last encounter in May this year ( on clay).

Murray hasn’t been at his best recently but seems to be more motivated against the higher ranked players. Simon is playing some fantastic tennis so Murray will be up for the fight from the first point. Simon has had neck/back issues this week and yesterday’s match won’t have done that any good at all. Add that to the head to heads and I can see just one winner.

However even if Simon woke up today feeling like he had been beaten up I’d expect him to be able to make a fight of it in the opening set so Murray’s starting price of 1.25 is crazy. I’ll be laying him from the start but I am sure that as the game goes on Murray will start to take control and get the win.

Update: It was immediately clear that Simon was lethargic. Murray broke in the first game although Simon broke back straight away. After that Murray slowly started to control the match and won 6-3, 6-3.

 

Nadal v Fish:

Nadal wasn’t at his best yesterday and needed a third set tie break to get rid of Verdasco. Th egreat players find a way to get the job done even when they aren’t playing well.

Fish had a tough match with Gasquet yesterday but got the win in straight sets. He has played a lot of tennis recently and is taking next week off to rest before the US Open.

Nadal took a break after Wimbledon so fitness shouldn’t be an issue. If both players were fresh then based on recent results I would have this match very even. Factoring in Fish’s fatigue I think Nadal at 1.72 has to be good value.

I’ll be backing from the start.

Update: Fish wasn’t ready to have a rest and Nadal has lost that extra edge that put him at the top of the rankings for so long.

Fish won 6-3, 6-4.

 

Hantuchova v Zvonareva:

Hantuchova has beaten Bartoli and Pennetta this week but wasn’t too convincing in her 3 set win over Bartoli. In contrast Zvonareva has had few problems in dealing with Makarova and Martic. She has lost just 7 games this week.

Zvonareva leads the head to heads 5-2 with all their match having been played on hard courts. Hantuchova has lost 6 of her lat 7 matches when she was underdog.

I expect a tighter match than Zvonareva has had so far but that she will get the win.

Update: Zvonareva won 6-3, 7-6.

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