It wasn’t a good day for the favourites yesterday. Berdych never found his serve and his groundstrokes rarely found the lines. Murray sent his brother out to play in an Andy mask, although that’s probably being unfair to Jamie. Del Potro went down to Nieminen. Djokovic lost a set to Monaco.
First up today is Wawrinka and Tsonga.
Wawrinka played exceptionally well against Murray but its always easier to play well when your opponent just isn’t at the races. Tsonga slapped Melzer back into line after the Austrian beat up a tired and disinterested Almagro in the previous round.
These two have met 3 times before. Their last 2 matches were at the French open. Both went to 5 sets. They won 1 match each. In both matches on clay it was Tsonga who took the opening set. Their other match was also in France in Metz and Tsonga won in 3 sets.
No prizes for predicting that this is going to be close. Wawrinka has a bit of a reputation for being a choker. He didn’t get chance yesterday but i am sure he will come under more pressure today. His game is more suited to clay than Tsonga’s but the Frenchman tends to play the big matches better. Wawrinka will come into this match with his confidence high but how fragile will that confidence be if Tsonga takes the firsts set? Their encounters at Roland Garros suggest that he won’t crumble but will he have time to recover from a bad start? In both the matches at the French he came back to 2-2 from being 2 sets down.
Today I feel the first set is vital for both players and whoever wins it takes the match. Tsonga starts as slight underdog but I feel that Wawrinka’s price has been pushed down based on beating the world number 2. He DID play very well but today he has an opponent who will actually get a few balls back.
If Wawrinka goes low fairly early I will look to lay him.
Update: Wawrinka seemed to have the edge but it was Tsonga who came through in the third set.
Tsonga won 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Kohlscreiber wasn’t totally outplayed by Nadal yesterday. Dimitrov has looked good this week and whilst I don’t expect him to beat the 8 times champion he may be able to push Nadal’s price up a few ticks in the first set. I think thats the best we can hope for.
Update: Fantastic effort from Dimitrov. He took it to 3 sets and I felt he had a real chance to break at 4-4 in the third.
Nadal won 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.
Fognini had the crowd behind him against berdych and if he can stay in the firsts et for a while they will get behind him again. Gasquet played well to beat Cilic in straight sets.
They have played twice before with Gasquet winning very easily both times. They haven’t played on clay though which is Fognini’s best surface.
Gasquet rightly starts at 1.35 . I expect him to serve much better than Berdych did and his shot making ability is well suited to clay courts where points have to be constructed rather than just won by big passing shots.
I think we see a higher price on Gasquet today. For those following the betting tips the point in the selection process that should have disqualified Berdych and Murray as picks yesterday ( if I hadn’t ignored it! ) is also present on this match but I am still going with Gasquet for the win.
Update: Gasquet was also below his best but I am beginning to feel that it is Fognini’s nigh level this week that isn’t allowing his opponents to settle.
Fognini won 7-6, 6-2.
There has to be a chance that Djokovic will trade higher again today. He always finds a way through though despite his ankle problem. Has to be worth a cheap lay at the start.
Update: Djokovic was broken in his first service game and it looked like another long match for the world number 1. However he was able to get back on top very quickly.
Djokovic won 6-4, 6-3.