Some excellent matches today. Quality from start to finish.
Federer takes on Tommy Haas. The German beat Fed in last year’s final and if are looking for which player is in form you don’t have to look any further than the defending champion. He has had a couple of real tests this week in Gulbis and Monfils. The win over Gulbis really should have been easier as Haas created 17 break points but was able to take just 1 of them. Monfils played some excellent tennis and took the opening set in a tie break. However Haas only allowed him 1 break point in the whole match which he saved.
Federer has not been tested at all. Stebe put up very little resistance and Zverev didn’t even win a single game. The top players need to have at least one match before the latter stages that stretches them and fine tunes their game. He is going into this semi final a little cold.
Even if Federer wins this match his SP of 1.30 is more than a little crazy. We have all seen him destroy top players in the past and it is difficult to forget those. He has always said that he goes into matches without any game plan and just works it out during the match. Unfortunately for him his opponents and their coaching teams are spending a great deal of time working out how to put him under pressure. Whether he gets back to his best remains to be seen. After his loss last year in Halle he went on to win Wimbledon but I don’t expect him to be lifting that trophy this year. He hasn’t won a title yet this year which must hurt as like us he expects himself to be challenging for titles every week. I think he needs this win more than he did last year but it will be a real test.
Expect a classic but unless Federer can show a higher level than we have seen from him this season he will come off second best.
Update: Haas took the opening set but got nervous for the rest of the match. More double faults than we have seen all week and Federer was able to get the win.
Federer won 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
This is Vekic’s first time on grass and she has done quite well! The surface really suits her attacking style of play and her serve has been very effective. She dealt with the stop-start rain delays much better than Cirstea in their quarter final.
Rybarokova has also shown excellent form this week and beat an in form Keys in the quarter final. She won this event in 2009 beating Li Na in the final and plays her best tennis on grass.
I expect this one to be close and as long as Vekic doesn’t run out of energy I think she has a great chance. Rybarikova has much greater experience in big matches but something tells me Vekic takes her place in the final.
Update: Vekic won 7-6, 1-6, 6-3. What a performance.
Hewitt has been the surprise package in London this week. The Aussie hasn’t been fit during the grass season for quite a while now and seems to be relishing turning back the clock. He took a little while to find his timing and lost the first set of the week to Russell but after that things started to fall into place. Wins over Dimitrov, Querrey and Del Potro have exceeded people’s expectations.
Cilic is defending champion and beat Berdych in the quarter finals in straight sets. Mens grass court matches can often be just about serve and Cilic has served well this week although another player who can be superb from the line, Lopez, perhaps should have beaten the Croat.
This will come down to who returns best and Hewitt’s stats are better in that category.
Hewitt in 3 sets.
Update: I didn’t watch this as Murray was on at the same time but Hewitt called for the trainer during the second set. He did take it to a third set though.
Cilic won 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
Petkovic and Halep are two players in excellent form. Petkovic spoiled our double yesterday when she beat a disappointing Jankovic and Halep fought back after an ankle injury in the 5th game off her match with Safarova had threatened to put her out.
They have only played once before which was in 2009 and Petkovic won in 2 sets.
Halep will have to manage her ankle injury which is likely to take something away from her game but even without that I have to go with Petkovic in front of her home crowd.
Update: Petkovic wasted far too many early chances and was punished for it. Halep was all out attack and won 6-3, 6-3.
Murray has a 7-2 lead in his previous matches with Tsonga and has won all their previous matches on grass. Murray needs a good run this week for his Wimbledon preparation. He was tested in the last round by Becker who has played his best tennis for a while.
Tsonga has played a lot of tennis recently and has reached the latter stages in 4 of his last 5 tournaments. Grass saps the energy more than any other surface and he has already had 2 three set matches.
This is a good match up for Murray and I expect him to take it.
Update: Murray started so slowly and I was thinking if he plays like this at Wimbledon he won’t make the second week. He lost the opening set. Half way through set 2 he faced 2 break points and he was playing with no apparent confidence. It looked bleak but he saved the game and it sparked him into action. He was a different player from that point on and Tsonga folded under the pressure. The Frenchman couldn’t do much right in the third set.
Murray won 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Gasquet and Youzhny are locked at 4-4 in their previous matches. Gasquet won their last 2 meetings. They have never played on grass.
I haven’t watched Youzhny’s last 2 wins over Nishikori and Kohlschreiber but have read that his opponent each time made hi job a whole lot easier than it should have been.
I did see Gasquet’s matches and have been impressed. He is serving well and his backhand is as good as ever.
Gasquet has given just 5 break points to his opponents this week and has saved them all. Youzhny has given 8 break points and saved 7 of them. I expect very tight sets and a tie break is likely. I give an edge on grass to Gasquet but won’t be backing at 1.54 . If I can grab a price above 1.75 to 1.80 I feel that’s a more realistic entry.
Update: Why does Youzhny never play like that when I back him?
He won 6-3, 6-2. When it’s your week it’s your week.