10:00 – Malisse v Nieminen
Rankings are 63 and 39. Head to heads are 2-1 to Malisse although its almost 3 years since they last played.
As this is the final event of the year for Malisse he may not be too motivated as he has little to play for. Add to that the recent loss of his mother and this match looks like one way traffic.
Nieminen has reached a couple of quarter finals recently and also the semi final in Stockholm. He narrowly lost to Djokovic last week 4-6, 6-7.
Looking at stats over the last month Malisse has held server just 63% to Nieminen’s 89%. Malisse needs his serve to be better than that to get past Nieminen who, whilst he isn’t the best returner in the world, wins over 50% of points against his opponents’ second serve.
Back Nieminen on serve or from the start to green up after the first set.
Update: Nieminen won 6-4, 6-3.
16:00 – De Bakker v Giraldo
Rankings are 47 and 66. Head to heads are 1-1.
De Bakker has lost the winning feeling lately and i’m sure he will want to finish the season off strongly to give him confidence for next year. The matches that he has lost in recent weeks have either been in 3 sets or have involved a tie break so he hasn’t been a million miles away.
Giraldo has played well lately and although he hasn’t had many wins he took Almagro and Stepanek to 3 sets.
They have held serve 85% and 76% in the last month. Giraldo has better stats on return of serve especially against first serves. De Bakker has to serve well because on recent form we know his opponent will.
This could be a tight match with only a break between them in each set. Both should be motivated to end the season well.
Wait to see how they start but De Bakker has the greater talent which is why he is my tip to win. Back him on serve once you have seen that he is serving as well as he can.
He should win in 2 tight sets.
Update: Giraldo won 6-7, 6-4, 7-5.