Simon v Youzhny:
I have gone against Simon in his last 2 matches and he proved me wrong. Today the head to heads are also strongly against him and Youzhny leads them 7-1. They have never played on clay.
Even though I expected Youzhny’s win against Cilic the Russian overcame some excellent play from the Croatian. Simon’s victory against Monfils had more to do with his opponent playing a strange first set that lacked any aggression and then totally rolling over in the third set.
We have seen some very close matches over the last couple of days and I expect this to be another one. Youzhny will certainly be more aggressive than Monfils was. It should be noted that in the second set when Monfils WAS more aggressive he was beating Simon fairly easily.
Simon’s defensive capabilities are excellent and he will try to wear Youzhny down.
The head to head obviously points to a Youzhny win but the slower surface today levels things out a little. Again I see 3 sets being quite likely but I’ll stick with Youzhny. Simon can’t prove me wrong 3 times in a row 😉
Update: For a set and a half Youzhny played almost a perfect game. He was aggressive and wasn’t giving Simon time to settle. Then Simon won a break and the whole match changed. It went to a third set and for the second match in a row Simon’s opponent crumbled in the decider.
Simon won 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Almagro v Verdasco:
Almagro was very fired up from the start of his match with Mayer. It seemed as though there was some history between the players and the Spaniard was in intimidation mode. It certainly helped him and he won despite some superb play from the German.
Verdasco’s new image seems to be working for him so far. He beat last year’s finalist Melzer in a very tight three setter.
All their previous matches were played on clay and Verdasco leads the head to head 3-1.
Despite the head to heads I think it will take more than a hair cut to give Verdasco the edge over Almagro here. He took advantage of a slow start by Melzer. Almagro has been guilty of slow starts in the past but hasn’t really had one for a couple of weeks. I see Almagro being more motivated to get the win as his ranking is slipping away since its high of 10 earlier this year.
I see this going to Almagro in 2 tight sets.
Update: verdasco made a match of it in the first set but Almagro always looked the better player.
Almagro won 6-4, 6-1.