12:00 – Nieminen v Hanescu
Rankings are 71 and 43. Head to heads are 2-0 to Nieminen (both on clay).
Hanescu took Federer to 3 sets last month. That was on a hard court though and whilst I would expect him to be very comfortable on clay his results don’t back that up.
Nieminen has split his season between the main tour and the Challenger tour. He has had success on both reaching the semi final at Delray Beach on hard courts and winning the Challenger event in Marrakech on clay.
Nieminen’s game is more suited to today’s surface and I’d expect a straight sets win. Use scalping and 15-40.
Update: The real Hanescu turned up! Nieminen dominated the first set but Hanescu came back to win in 3 sets.
Hanescu won 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.
16:00 – Gasquet v Golubev
Rankings are 74 and 88. They haven’t played before.
Gasquet was very impressive in his last match where he didn’t lose a point on his serve in the first set. He looks very comfortable on clay.
Golubev reached the semi final of a Challenger tour event last week but his opponent today is in a different class to the players he met there.
I expect a straight sets win for Gasquet. Either back him from the start or use scalping/15-40.
Update: Easy win for Gasquet. 6-1, 6-1.