Murray v Berdych:
Berdych leads the head to heads 3-2. He won their only previous meeting on clay.
Berdych can be such a difficult player to read. The last time they met Berdych had been playing superb tennis that week and Murray had scraped through his matches. But it was Berdych who played an awful match and lost quite tamely in 2 sets. Nothing Murray was doing was forcing the errors. His brain just tuned out for the day. The same thing happened yesterday in his match with Nishikori. Admittedly Nishikori had won both their previous matches which could have had some effect on Berdych’s state of mind going into the match. Even allowing for his near miss in the opening set against Cilic where he led 5-1 and had to win the set in a tie break Berdych played extremely well. Once the first set was out of the way Berdych got himself back to “normal” and took the next 2 sets.
Murray has had the occasional tough match with Troicki but wasn’t in the mood for messing about this time. The Serb won just 3 games which all came in the second set. Against Benneteau Murray went a break up but the Frenchman dragged him back and they were at 5-5 when he had a horrible fall hurting both his ankle and his elbow. They patched him up and he limped through 1 more game but then had to retire. It was discovered later that he had broken his elbow in the accident.
So Murray goes into today’s match the fresher of the two. The slow court will favour him and I think Berdych will have a very tough task trying to get the ball past him. Every ball is coming back unless its exceptional.
I expect Murray to take this but his starting price of 1.40 is just too low. Both are more than capable of a slow start so I will wait to get better odds on the Scot.
Update: Berdych had all the break points in the opening set but wasn’t able to take them. We ended in a tie break that Murray won. I felt the disappointment of not taking those chances would hurt Berdych and took a free bet on Murray.
In fact it was Murray who faded and Berdych continued to serve well. He won a break of serve and then a second to take the set.
At that stage you had to think Berdych was favourite although Murray’s record for getting himself out of tough situations was holding his price down. That had to be a lay on Murray for me using the profit from the first set. Berdych broke serve early and whilst Murray broke back it was just delaying the almost inevitable. Berdych broken again and then again to take the match.
Simon v Tsonga:
Tsonga leads the head to heads 4-2 although Simon won their only previous clay court match. That was 4 years ago.
Its tough to pick a winner here. Tsonga is the stronger player over all but on clay they are much closer. Tsonga starts at 1.66 and 1.80 is perhaps a more realistic price.
Tsonga beat Verdasco in straight sets in the last round although he could easily have lost that first set.
Simon needed 3 sets to get past Tipsarevic. He dominated the first and third sets and i would say he has played the better tennis this week.
Tsonga doesn’t play his best tennis on clay and tries to play more or less the same as on the hard courts. Simon is more of a counter attacker on the faster courts but alters his play for the dirt events. If he can combine the two styles today then he has a great chance.
I think it will be a close match but my gut feeling is for Tsonga to get through to the semis.
Update: My gut was wrong! Simon played some great tennis and took a 2 break lead. Tsonga pulled both back to get to 5-5 but Simon broke again and then held for the set. Simon called for the medic complaining of having no energy but you would never know that from how he played.
In the second set Tsonga took a 3-0 lead but Simon pulled back to 4-4. He broke Tsonga again and served out the match.
Simon won 7-5, 6-4.