Grand Prix Hassan II – Tuesday

11:00 – Volandri v Benneteau

Rankings are 75 and 78. Head to heads are 1-1 although their first meeting was in the qualifying rounds for the Oz Open 2003. Benneteau took that but its too long ago to be relevent.

Volandri plays almost exclusively on clay. He reached the final of the Challenger tournament last week beating a couple of decent players along the way. He will certainly be well prepared for this match.

Benneteau’s form hasn’t been great recently although he has been unlucky with his opponents. He beat Lopez but lost to Llodra, Melzer and Fish in the last few weeks.

Benneteau starts as favourite on Betfair at 1.66 but I would have Volandri as slight favourite . I’d prefer to be laying Benneteau a little lower so will wait to see how the opening games go. If it looks like the Italian has the upper hand I may place an early lay on Benneteau so I don’t miss out on the price swing ( am I ok to call it a price swing? I’d hate to offend anyone  😉   ).

On clay they hold serve around 67% each but Volandi’s return of serve is much better although I have included Challenger stats so a lot of his games were against lower ranked players. Volandri creates more break points and converts a much higher percentage (on clay)

Ideally Benneteau will get an early break so we get to lay him lower than his starting price. If all goes well I’ll look to get out after the first set. If they look fairly even after the first set I’ll look to lay the set winner but that will be discussed in the chatroom as usual.

Update: Benneteau broke in the very first game and could be layed at 1.55 .  Volandri broke back straight away and eventually held serve. He then called for the medic and received treatment for an arm/shoulder injury.

He seemed ok after that but I was wary of having an open lay on Benneteau in case Volandri quit after the set..

Volandri didn’t seem to be affected too much by his injury and Benneteau struggled to hold serve especially in crucial games.

Volandri won 7-5, 6-2.



12:30 – Machado v Ramirez Hidalgo

Rankings are 99 and 103. They haven’t played before.

Ramirez Hidalgo has been very poor on clay this season which is surprising for the Spaniard.

Machado won the recent Challenger even in Marrakech and is another player who plays almost exclusively on clay.

On clay over the last 12 months Machado has 5 wins from 9 matches whereas R H has just 1 win from 7.

Machado’s serve has been much better with 78% holds to R H’s 65% (on clay).

The price is a little low at 1.45  but I will be backing Machado from the start and look to green up after the set. If you choose to do the same make sure you have your strategy in place for if the trade goes against you. Check out the members area of TradeShark Tennis for ideas.

Update: This one started off ok with Machado having a break point which he didn’t take. R H stayed the more solid on serve and took a tight first set.

Machado crumbled in the second set.

R H won 7-5, 6-1.  Not unusually an incorrect pre-game prediction brought about the biggest profit of the day so far. That’s the beauty of trading as opposed to gambling 😉

Towards the end of the set it appeared that R H was holding serve easier and i felt that as Machado was less experienced he might be nervous holding serve at 5-6 to take it to a tie break. I layed him at 1.67 and 1.80 and let the bet run until R H was around 1.25 before levelling the green.

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