10:00 – Gulbis v Youzhny
Rankings are 26 and 10. Head to heads are 1-1.
Youzhny’s form has picked up recently with a couple of finals and one title last month. He still seems to have a problem winning in straight sets and often starts slowly.
Gulbis reached the quarter finals in Thailand but left the next 3 tournaments in the first round although 2 of those were against Gasquet and Djokovic. He came through against Chela in the first round when his opponent retired in the second set.
Over the last month they have held serve 68% and 82%. Youzhny is also ahead in the return of serve stats and converts more break point opportunities than Gulbis.
So all the stats point to a Youzhny win. All we need to figure out is how he’ll get there. As I said above he often starts slowly and I don’t see him winning this easily if Gulbis is fit ( or interested).
Watch the opening couple of games but don’t be surprised if Youzhny loses serve early. Once he has got past 2 service games he should be fine to back on serve. If he loses the first set back him as he will level the match.
Update: No great surprise to see Youzhny lose the first set. unfortunately he quit at 0-3 in the second.
Gulbis won 6-4, 3-0(ret)
16:00 – Golubev v Simon
Rankings are 36 and 43. They haven’t played before.
Golubev hasn’t been in the best form lately with very few wins under his belt. Simon on the other hand has been playing great tennis although I was surprised he lost to Granollers last week. Simon did say his match against Davydenko took a lot of his energy which explains to some extent his poor form against Granollers.
This week he is playing in front of his home crowd and the French usually do well on home soil.
Serves are held 75% and 80%.. Golubev has slightly better stats on return of serve.
On recent form I am going with Simon although it could be tight. Neither player will run away with this one.
Back Simon on serve.
Update: Simon started slowly and Golubev was serving superbly. Simon came back from a set down to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.