Madrid Open 2012, Monday

So we get our first look at the new blue clay surface in Madrid. How does this change things? Well I had to find a new colour for the background….

 

Domingues Lino v Cetkovska:

They have played twice before, both time on clay. Cetkovska won them both.

Cetkovska is the better player here but she has been struggling to find some consistency. Having said that she has reached the quarter finals of the last 2 clay court tournaments.

Cetkovska’s problem is her serve. One day it can be great and the next day her serve can drag her whole game into the dirt. Lino will not be an easy opponent for her as she is fairly consistent without being spectacular.

In recent events Lino has beaten Lisicki and NIculescu and has taken Kirilenko, Pennetta and Cirstea to 3 sets.

Cetkovska starts at 1.58 which is a little low for me. Lino usually starts well and I am hoping for her to break in the early games. If Cetkovska is broken early I will be backing her but a little nervously. Any player can start badly and the favourite will (more often than not) break back pretty quickly after being broken early but with Cetkovska you never know which version of her has turned up until it’s too late!

If Cetkovska plays near her best she will win this but it won’t be straight forward and won’t be an easy bet to let run for very long.

Update: Cetkovska started well and took a 5-1 lead. She then did her best to choke away that lead.  Lino came back to 4-5 and Cetkovska served for the set. However she had to save 5 break points before finally taking the game.

In the second set it was Lino who took the lead and was 4-1 ahead. Cetkovska pulled back to 4-4 and went on to win the set and the match.

Cetkovska won 6-4, 7-5.

 

Kerber v V Williams:

They have played once before which was in 2009 at the Oz Open and Williams won in straight sets.

Today Kerber starts as favourite on betfair at 1.75 . I have read other opinions saying that its crazy that she is favourite at all. They say how good Venus was in 2010 when she reached the final. You mean before the illness? Anyone who has seen her play since her return will have seen a player who is a shadow of her former brilliant self. The illness has clearly taken a serious toll on the American. Its a real shame to see as I quite like her especially in comparison to her thug of a sister.

In the last round Williams was almost knocked out by Simona Halep. She needed a third set tie break to get through. Now Halep is by no means a bad player. She is ranked 47 in the world but the old Venus would have taken the match easily in straight sets.

Kerber came through against Larsson in straight sets. She has had a great few months and her game has improved immensely. Her mental strength under pressure is excellent and I doubt she will be intimidated by have a huge name on the other side of the net. If anything I expect that to make her play with more intensity.

Williams has obviously improved since the first few games after her return to the tour. However is the improvement  enough to beat one of the most improved players? Personally I would be very surprised and will be backing Kerber from the start and will see what happens. Even a below par Williams will be able to use her greater experience at times but I just don’t think it will be enough today.

Update: Kerber went into a 3-0 double break lead. Venus pulled a break back but Kerber held on for the set. In the second the German took a 5-0 lead. Williams managed to save herself the embarrassment of a 6-0 set by breaking serve but was then broken in the next game.

Kerber won 6-4, 6-1.

 

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