16:00 – Nalbandian v Soderling
Rankings are 45 and 5. Head to heads are 5-1 to Nalbandian. They haven’t played for 2 years.
In yesterday’s match Nalbandian had a slight wobble in his opening service game and then pretty much demolished Robredo. A very impressive performance.
Soderling had more of a struggle against Gulbis. Soderling seems to be developing a habit of starting slowly and then coming back to win in three sets. Of his last 5 matches he has lost the first set in 4 of them.( He came back to 1 set all against Almagro in the Swedish Open final but lost the third).
If Soderling makes another slow start then I can see Nalbandian taking the first set. He will then look to finish the Swede off quickly in the second. If Soderling can get his big serve working from the first game then he is in with a chance. It must be difficult to have to keep coming back from a set down and with Nalbandian in the form that he is it would be Sod’s toughest recovery yet.
If it does go to three sets then I would favour Soderling to take it as he will be the fitter of the two.
Over the last 3 months they have held serve 82% and 87% respectively. First serve percentages are 56% and 62%. They have both saved 69% of break points against them.
Nalbandian’s return stats are better with him winning 42% of points against a first serve and 60% against a second serve. Soderling wins 31% against first serves and 48% of points against second serves.
I favour Nalbandian to take the first set. Back him on serve. Ofcourse backing Soderling on serve is also fine but be wary of the shaky start. Avoid his first service game.
Soderling will be keen to avoid a bad start and I’d expect him to come out swinging. He will either connect with a few great shots or he will shank a few into the top of the stands.
Update: Nalbandian looked tired for much of the game but managed an impressive win 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
20:00 – Kohlschreiber v Lu
Rankings are 37 and 44. Head to heads are 1-0 to Lu.
Both men had tough three setters in the last round. Lu started slowly against Mathieu and lost the first set. He seemed to be letting a couple of bad line calls get to him but then started to hit some great shots. I left the match to go to bed halfway through the second set and was surprised to see that he had won the next 2 sets on tie breaks.
Lu will have less time to recover from the last match and they are on court at 3pm local time. Kohlschreiber has played less tennis this week and will be fresher.
Both players have very similar serve stats over the last 3 months with first serve percentages of 63% and 62%. They hold serve 81% and 83%. Both save 61% of break points against them.
I think experience will shine through for Kohlschreiber. He won’t allow Lu back in if he is able to take the first set.
Back Kohlschreiber on serve.
Update: Very tight first 2 sets but Kohlschreiber ran away with the decider.
He won 6-7, 7-5, 6-0.