15:00 – Almagro v Soderling
Rankings are 35 and 7. Head to heads are 3-1 to Soderling ( 1-1 on clay)
Almagro reached the quarter finals last week in Germany which was his best week of the clay season. He will want that to continue but he has a tough job today.
Soderling reached the final in Barcelona where he lost to Verdasco in 3 sets. His other loss on clay in 2010 was at the hands of Wawrinka in the 3rd round in Rome.
This could be a close match if both players are on form.
Soderling wins 85% of his service games and Almagro 84%. Backing both players on serve looks like a good plan but stay out of each players first service game. Almagro in particular tends to start slowly.
If Soderling’s flat hitting is accurate today he will win the match. If Almagro gets fired up he can cause the Swede some problems.
I give Soderling the edge.
Update : Soderling was well below his best and he struggled to get his serve going. Almagro was in top form and was boosted by playing infront of his home crowd.
Almagro won 6-4, 7-5.
19:00 Tsonga v Garcia-Lopez
Edit: Thanks to TheLab for the comment re Tsonga. He has back problems and may be doubtful for this match
Rankings are 10 and 39. Head to heads are 2-0 to Tsonga although they haven’t played on clay.
Garcia Lopez reached the semi finals in Estoril. He has been very consistent on clay this year.
Tsonga has reached a couple of quarter finals on clay this year. The Frenchman prefers the faster courts but if he’s in the mood he can play well on the “dirt”.
Tsonga wins 84% of his service games. Back him on serve.
Update: TheLab’s info proved to be correct about tsonga’s back problem.
The Frenchman struggled in the opening set and called for the trainer at 2-5. He played the next game to complete the set but retired straight after.
As the first set was complete all bets stand.