Halep v Bartoli:
They have played just once before which was on clay in Madrid last year.
Bartoli starts as a fairly strong favourite but I don’t expect her to get everything her own way today. She needed 3 sets to get past Hercog who is normally pretty awful on hard courts. Even if Hercog had one of her rare good performance away from the clay courts a player of Bartoli’s class shouldn’t have had a problem.
Halep is having a good season. Since losing to Vinci in Paris her only losses have come to opponents ranked 4 or higher.
I think we’ll see either 2 very close sets or a 3 setter. In close matches Bartoli rarely runs away with the opening set and frequently loses the first set of 3 set matches.
You could lay Bartoli from the start although I think I will wait for her to be broken before backing her as I feel she will win in the end. The higher you can back her the less pressure there is to exit the trade.
Update: Bartoli did it the wrong way round. She won the first set and then came very close to losing the second. Halep wasn’t able to close out the second set despite a big lead. Bartoli won 6-4, 7-6.
Raonic v Murray:
I’m quite looking forward to watching this one.
Murray has never faced the Raonic serve. It will be a good test for him of how quickly he is able to read it. To be fair as the 4th ranked player in the world you would expect him to have the experience to deal with it as Federer and Melzer did.
Murray is one of the best returners in the game and Raonic will need all the free points he can get from his serve. Once the points moce beyond the serve and into rallies then Murray has a huge advantage.
In Indian Wells Murray lost to Garcia Lopez which was a poor loss how ever you look at it. This suggests that his game isn’t near its peak. Murray has said that Lendl is helping him deal with the bad losses and he is working on dismissing them from his mind much quicker.
Raonic retired from his doubles match with an ankle injury. That was probably a precaution as singles is his priority.
Murray starts at 1.28 which is no price to be backing him against player of Raonic’s ability. A break from Raonic will bring a massive price swing as the market will expect that Raonic will not be broken easily.
I’ll again be waiting for for Murray to go behind before backing him. A first set tie break is quit possible and Raonic will be favourite to take that.
Update: Raonic pulled out with that injury from the doubles.