Tomic v Dolgopolov:
Dolgopolov leads the head to heads 3-1 although Tomic won their last match. That was in this year’s Australian Open and went to 5 sets. They have never played on clay.
In his first match Dolgopolov easily beat Chela in straight sets. The Argentinian was way below his best form but even so Dolgopolov was striking the ball exceptionally well. His play was a huge contrast to what we saw from him in his previous match where he was unable to string 2 decent points together.
Tomic isn’t known for his clay court ability but has said he wants to develop this area of his game. In the first round he played Denis Istomin who was perhaps still struggling with his shoulder. However Tomic showed a great deal of patience and his tactics were excellent. Also his ground strokes were crisp and well directed.
Dolgopolov has the better pedigree on clay but his starting price of 1.46 is too low. This will be a good test of how far Tomic has moved his clay game forward and I think he will have the faster start.
I will be laying Dolgopolov at the start. I think it will be close and 3 sets wouldn’t be a surprise. If it does go to 3 then I would favour Tomic to take it.
Update: Laying at the start turned out to be a crap idea as Dolgo took control very early and Tomic looked a bit unsure of himself. I stayed out as thhe second set started but monitored the match. As Tomic began to settle into the match it was Dolgopolov’s turn to wobble. Tomic won a late break and served out the set. At that point I still thought Tomic was going into the third set as the stronger player but he proved me wrong as his errors increased.
Dolgopolov won 6-2, 5-7, 6-1.
Nishikori v Mathieu
They have played just once before which was on a hard court in Brisbane in 2009. Mathieu took it in 2 sets.
Mathieu was once number 12 in the world. Today he meets the player who is 18th. Its good to see him back on the tour but he is a mile away from the old Mathieu. He has been hitting the ball well enough but his tactics have been poor recently. He has shown a lack of patience that is perhaps brought about by an eagerness to get back into the main tour on a regular basis.
Nishikori has come a long way since their last match. He beat an in-form Ramos in the first round although I think Ramos was tired from his long run last week. Nishikori lost concentration a couple of times but still managed to come through in straight sets.
Mathieu beat Donald Young in the first round losing just 1 game but Donald Duck would have put up more resistance than the American.
Part stake on Nishikori from the start and I hope Mathieu comes out firing and a few of his big ground strokes find the lines. I will add the rest if I get above 1.60 on the young Jap player.
Update: Nishikori was having problems with his serve in the opening few games. He was geting just 30% of first serves in. At 2-3 he faced 2 break points and we got our higher price. He held and broke Mathieu in the next game. His own serve was better from that point on.
In the second he took a 4-0 lead and won the match in straight sets.
Nishikori won 6-4, 6-2.