Plenty of great match ups today! I am running late this morning so will put up shorter thoughts on more matches. Worked out ok yesterday!
Simon is up against the claycourter Starace. The Frenchman seems to be over his neck injury and looked fairly good against Gil yesterday. Worth a half stake back on Simon from the start at 1.57 and look to green up after the first set. They have never met on clay but their previous 3 matches all went to 3 sets.
Update: Starace won 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
Montanes plays the comeback kid Fognini. The Italian must be dead on his feet after 2 tough 3 setters and he also played doubles. Montanes started well against Volandri but started making unforced errors galore in the second set. I rate Montanes above Fognini and add the fact that Fog is running on empty this looks like straight sets to Montanes to me.
Update: Montanes won 7-6, 6-1.
Karlovic v Isner. Battle of the serves. Karlovic in great form and before this week Isner has been below par. Isner performed very well in the last round and looked solid. He has said he actually enjoys playing on clay. Karlovic relies on his big first serve. His second is below the standard of Isners. I rate Isner as a better returner and as I said yesterday that is more important on clay than the serve ( although both served a boat load of aces in their last matches). You might expect a tie break or two but in the 5 sets they have played before, all on hard courts, only 2 were tie breaks. I’ll take the American to win but won’t get involved until I have watched a few games.
Update: Three tie break sets!! Both had chances to win the deciding tie break but it was Karlovic who took it 7-6, 6-7, 7-6.
Garcia-Lopez v Cuevas. G-L looked the better player yesterday. Cuevas struggled in the first set to get past Blake whereas Garcia-Lopez beat Devvarman quite comfortably in a match many expected him to lose. Lay Cuevas from the start.
Update: Cuevas was dire in the first set but came through to win 1-6, 7-6, 6-3.
Fish v Nishikori. Nishikori will put up more of a fight than Ramos did yesterday. Nishikori becoming one of my favourite players. The fact that Fish plays at home gives him the edge. Fish can often start slowly and Nishikori could well nick a quick break. Fish has improved gis serve considerably over recent months and if Nishikori doesn’t get a break in the first 2 or 3 games I think he will have missed his chance. Fish gets stronger as matches progress. Fish to take it but it will be very close.
Update: Nishikori won 6-3, 6-2.