Indian Wells 2012, March 14th

The last couple of days have seen some unexpected results, due in part to the severe flu that has been going through the players. Hopefully from today any that haven’t been struck down should be ok and will perform a little closer to how we expect.


Almagro v Berdych:

The last time they met was in the Australian Open. Berdych played a drop shot and having reached the ball Almagro hit the ball and it hit Berdych on the arm. Berdych fell over as if he had been hit by a sniper and claimed Almagro had tried to hit him in the face. He refused to shake hands at the end of the match. There could be a little added spice to this match.

Almagro won the first set of that match but Berdych won the next 3 sets in tie breaks.

The over all head to heads are 5-2 to Berdych. Almagro’s 2 wins were on clay. That set at the Oz Open is the only one he has taken from Berdych on a hard court.

Both of Berdych’s matches have gone to 3 sets. He tends to play very carefully in opening sets and Stakhovsky was able to take the first set in a tie break. In the last round Roddick lost his serve in the very first game and never managed to break back in that set. He did level the scores with a single break in the second but Berdych was too strong in the deciding set.

Almagro has also had a couple of three setters losing the first set both times.  Querrey was able to keep the rest of the match close. Against Giraldo he looked in real trouble. The third set was very tight and they ended up in a tie break which Almagro took.

Both players are in good form but a level below their best. Berdych was looking very impressive in the early matches of 2012 but he has lost a little of the consistency. Almagro has had his usual good results on the South American clay courts and his confidence is high. He held Berdych  to 3 tie breaks when Berdych was at his best in January so we can expect another great match tonight.

To be in with a chance Almagro must get his first serve percentage above the 51% that he had against Giraldo. When he got the serve in he won 81% of those points.

The head to heads and especially the head to heads on hard courts points to a Berdych win but I certainly aren’t backing at 1.27 . Almagro taking the first set would be perfect but he hasn’t managed it so far at this tournament. As long as he doesn’t ” do a Roddick” and get broken in his  first game I think we will get a higher back price on Berdych.

1.65 to 1.70  is  my minimum entry range unless Almagro has some clear problems early in the match.

Update: Well the first thing on the wishlist happened. Almagro took the first set. Unfortunately Berdych didn’t win a game in the second set. Nice red to start the day!

Almagro won 6-4, 6-0.


Quarter Final – Azarenka v Radwanska:

Azarenka leads the head to heads 8-3.  They have already met 3 times in 2012 and Aza has won them all.  Their most recent match was in the semi finals in Doha and was the first time in 5 matches that it hadn’t gone to 3 sets. 

I think Azarenka has had the tougher opponents to get to this quarter final. Goerges, Kuznetsova and Barthel look like tough opponents on paper although Barthel was the only one to take a set.

Radwanska has had Cirstea, Pennetta and local girl Hampton who couldn’t complete the match due to cramp in the third set.

Azarenka is unbeaten this season and Radwanska has lost just one match ( to Aza ). Hopefully Radwanska can take it to 3 sets again. I think she will keep the first set close to give us a better back price than the SP of 1.28 on Azarenka.

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