Miami, 26th March

Stosur v S Williams:

The last time they met was in the US Open final last year. Stosur won that match really quite easily 6-2, 6-3 and we saw another Serena outburst when the umpire gave Stosur a point that Williams thought she had won. Williams had shouted, “come on!!” before Stosur hit her return.

Head to heads are 4-4 although one of Stosur’s “wins” was due to Williams pulling out before the match started. (sooo many gags spring to mind and so little time….)

Stosur lost the opening set to Scheepers in their 3rd round match although having drawn level at 1 set all ( from 2-5 down) she easily took the third. Williams has had opponents that you wouldn’t expect to trouble her in Vinci and Zhang but she dealt with them comfortably despite not having played a tour event since the Oz Open.

I would expect Williams to be pumped up for this one as she won’t have enjoyed getting beaten in her home Grand Slam. Stosur poses a real threat to Williams if she can serve well. She usually has a period of the match where nothing works for her and that could be her downfall. She needs to play consistently and hit the lines from start  to finish. Her backhand  needs to turn up today.

Williams will be more motivated and it depends how she deals with the will to win. If her lack of match play makes her force her shots then she could hand the opening set to Stosur.

Stosur is perhaps more likely to make the slower start and as long as Williams keeps her head early in the match she will probably take the set. If however Williams isn’t mentally prepared for her revenge mission and Stosur is able to take the set then we are in for a close match.

I predict that whoever wins the opening set takes the match.

Update: Stosur led for most of the opening set but Williams just refused to lie down. Williams came back to take the set 7-5. She also took the second to win the match 7-5, 6-3.

 

Monaco v Monfils:

Monaco leads the head to heads 3-2 but all his wins came on clay. They haven’t played on a faster court since 2008 when Monfils won in straight sets. Monaco is a greatly improved hard court player since then.

As hard courts go, the Miami surface is on the slow side. This will favour Monaco.

Before this week Monfils has played just 1 match since losing to Berdych in the final of the Open Sud de France. That was a Davis Cup match against Canada where he beat Pospisil.

Monaco had an easy first match when Lu quit in the first set. Monaco was leading 5-0 at the time.

Monfils had a potentially tricky match with Bubka although Monfils came through in straight sets and Bubka didn’t put him under too much pressure.

Rumours, as ever, that Monfils is carrying an injury but regardless of that I feel that his starting price of 1.48 is too low.

I will be starting with a lay of the Frenchman as I feel that Monaco could frustrate him and make him work that knee to the limit. Great chance of Monaco taking the opening set and if he does he would be my favourite to finish on top.

Update: Monfils started stronger and won the first break. He was immediately broken back. Yet another break for Monfils gave him the opportunity to serve out the set which he did.

Monaco made fewer mistakes in the second set and was able to level the match. He came through to also take the third.

Monaco won 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

 

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