Rome Masters – Thursday

Nadal v Lopez. After yesterday anything is possible! Pity the Italian ran out of steam.

Update: Nadal won 6-4, 6-2.


Mayer takes on Chela. Mayer is in the third round due to melzer having better things to do for the rest of the week. Melzer conceded the set point in the first set and then juust quit at 40-30 in the first game of the second. Chela had a surprisingly straight forward win over Gilles Simon so it looks like he is back in some sort of form. Mayer has won their last 4 matches including one on clay. All their previous matches were straight sets wins.

Simon was struggling with his serve which seemed to frustrate him in the end which made Chela’s job that bit easier. Mayer was playing well before Melzer quit although in the early games I actually thought Melzer looked slightly better. Its virtually impossible to call any close matchups this week but I favour Mayer. He has the better recent form, a solid head to head record and Chela is due another bad match.

Update: Mayer won 7-5, 6-4.


Nieminen v Berdych. I’d expect Berdych to come through this one but Nieminen is playing quite well this week. You can’t back anyone at 1.20 with any confidence this week though so I will wait for better odds. 5-1 head to head in favour of Berdych.

Update: Berdych won 6-2, 6-7, 6-2.


Federer was impressive against tsonga last night and Gasquet was superb in his last match. Gasquet has beaten fed on clay but it was 6 years ago. Since then he hasn’t come close. This should be a great match to watch if Gasquet believes he has a shot and I am fairly confident we’ll see a bigger price on Federer in the first set.

Update: The first 2 games were a Federer masterclass and Gasquet didn’t win a point until the 3rd game. Then the Frenchman staged a comeback as Federer lost concentration. Fed refocussed and took the set. After that Gasquet served superbly and his backhand was incredible at times. He levelled the match after a second set tie break. Federer always looked like he was just hanging in there in the third and Gasquet finally took the match 4-6, 7-6, 7-6.


Starace and Murray: Starace has looked impressive so far although looks capable of a choke in the important games. Murray took 3 sets to get past Malisse in the last round so we can definitely expect him to struggle at some point against the home player who is a clay court specialist. Starace has never beaten Murray although their previous match on clay went to 4 sets. The Italian courts have caused some of the big names problems this week so if Starace can start the match the way he did yesterday then Murray could get frustrated. If the crowd sense that Starace has a chance to win they will be doing everything they can think of to wind the Scot up and I’m not sure he will cope well with that. His elbow will start to trouble him and he’ll have that pained expression on his face that is so typically Murray. Starace has a great chance today

Update: Great performance from Murray and Starace was never really in the match. Murray won 6-2, 6-3.

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