Favourites continued to struggle yesterday. An inspired performance from Phau almost ended Tipsarevic’s week and what on Earth was Almagro doing?
Laura Robson’s run in Italy continued with a 3 sets win over clay court specialist Suarez Navarro. Bartoli started her match with Wickmayer serving like Raonic and ended it returning like Raonic. Cibulkova and Cirstea rounded the day off with one of the worst matches between “top” players that I can remember. It was made worse by the amazingly poor performance from the lines judges who were calling balls out that had landed INSIDE the line. There was also an incident when Cibulkova challenged a ball that she thought was out and a split second after the umpire called it out. The Hawkeye technology showed the ball to be in and the umpire ruled that the point should be replayed. Cirstea rightly complained that Cibs had stopped the point and should lose the point. The umpire seemed unsure but said that she had called it out before Cibulkova’s challenge. The referee was called and in the end it seemed to be the crowd that made the decision with calls of “give her the point”. The umpire announced that Cirstea would get the point!
Onto today’s games and Ferrer is a massive favourite to beat Dimitrov. Ferrer dropped a set to Robredo yesterday but finished the match with a 6-0 set. Dimitrov again came through in straight sets but showed little that would worry his opponent today.
Almagro at 1.34 would normally be a huge price against Hajek but the Spaniard hasn’t looked good this week. A shoulder injury was the problem in his first match and perhaps that is the reason for his weak performance against Gimeno Traver. Whether Hajek will be able to take advantage of Almagro’s decreased intensity remains to be seen but I think we will see another rollercoaster match with Almagro coming through.
Tipsarevic v Bellucci is one of the punting tips for today so I won’t duplicate it on the blog.
Verdasco has played some excellent tennis this week but I feel he is a little low at 1.46 against Granollers. The two Spanish players will know each other’s games very well and I think this match will be tight. You’d have to expect Verdasco to come through.
It looks like we’re headed for an Isner v Hewitt Final in Newport. I haven’t bothered with this tournament as its difficult to take it seriously. It looks a bit like a school yard with lots of courts with nothing dividing them. You also get the feeling that they are playing next to a cafe and are being watched by people who don’t give a monkey’s about tennis.
Dolgopolov faces the toughest test so far in his quest to defend his title in Umag. he beat Cilic in last year’s final. Dolgopolov will need to be at his very best to win this and I think it will be a great match to watch. Cilic will be motivated to get some revenge and starts as favourite at 1.58 . That’s probably a fair price as Dolgo can be unpredictable but this is the only title he has won and I expect him to give everything to try to defend it. If Dolgo gets his timing right from the start I think it’s worth laying Cilic for a trade. Really tough to pick a winner.