Saturday’s matches – 7th Jan

Chennai Semi Final

Raonic v Almagro:

Almagro was rusty against Sugita  to say the least. He looked like he hadn’t picked up a racquet since his last match of 2011. Sugita played well but shouldn’t have taken a set never mind almost won the match.

Raonic so far hasn’t been outstanding but the majority of players seem to be having a slow start to 2012. He doesn’t have a good record against top 10 players having lost his last 5 against top 10’ers . I don’t feel Almagro played like a top 10 player though yesterday.

Yesterday Sugita was incredibly consistent but doesn’t really have the big weapons that Raonic has. Raonic isn’t just a big server. He is developing  his big ground strokes too.

I expect Almagro to play better today  but Raonic has a couple of matches under his belt and there is nothing like actual match play to fine tune your game.

It should be a tight match but Raonic’s serve will carry him through.

Update: Raonic won 6-4, 6-4.


Aukland Final

Pennetta v Zheng: Rain delay – Decision made at 23:15 whether to play indoors

Pennetta leads the head to heads 3-2 but has won their only 2 matches in the last 18 months.  Zheng’s last win over her was in 2006 and on clay.

The final has been delayed due to rain in Aukland. If the rain continues it will be played indoors so we will see this completed today.

Pennetta has gone a couple of years withour a tournament win and this is by far the best chance she will get. Her tennis this week has been superb with easy wins over Kerber, Vesnina and Baltacha, all in straight sets. Cirstea pushed her close in the first match of the season but again it was over in 2 sets.

Former world number 15 Zheng has had a couple of three setters including against  Kuznetsova in the semi final. That was perhaps down to Kuznetsova’s inability to maintain the level of the first set as much as it was down to Zheng’s improvement but the Chinese player showed greater mental toughness in that third set.

Its hard to see past Pennetta winning this title. She is long overdue. 1.40 is too short to be backing her in a final though and I will wait for a better price in the opening set. Minimum price of 1.60-1.70 to get my interest.

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