Sony Ericsson Open, Miami – Thursday

19:30 – Stakhovsky v Dimitrov

Rankings are 36 and 70. They haven’t played before.

Stakhovsky hasn’t played a tournament match for a month. He did play 2 Davis Cup matches at the beginning of March. He won them both in 5 sets when really he should have been winning them more easily.  He pulled out of Indian Wells as he was sick.

Dimitrov has had to come through the qualifying stages in Miami and he had two good wins against Massu and De Voest.

Over the last 3 months Dimitrov has slightly better stats on serve. If Stak’s serve is working well it can be a huge weapon but we haven’t seen the best of him yet in 2011.

Stakhovsky has much better stats for return of serve so Dimitrov’s serve will have to be at its best today.

They start the match at evens on Betfair. If Stak is fit and has prepared well then that is massive value but I aren’t convinced that he won’t be rusty and his match fitness may well not be at its normal levels. There is nothing that can give you match fitness other than playing matches.

I’ll be waiting to see how they start although I may put a small back on Stak from the start.

If both are fit and playing to form then Stak wins. Backing him on serve is normally a good plan but I’d wait to see how that serve is working today.

Update: Decent form from Stak. He won 6-2, 6-4.



21:00 – Chardy v Nishikori

Rankings are 49 and 62. They haven’t played before.

Chardy has shown some form on clay this season but he has been poor on hard courts. He has lost all 5 matches in the last 3 months whereas Nishikori has won 7 from 11.

Chardy’s service holds for the same period are just 61% to his opponent’s 80%. The Frenchman has struggled against decent servers too winning just 25% of points against first serves.

He has created just 0.12 break points per game which is low. Nishikori gets 0.23 . Chardy converts just 28% of his break opportunities.

Nishikori reached the semi finals of the Delray Beach tournament losing to Tipsarevic.

Nishikori starts at 1.75 on Betfair which looks generous based on recent form. If Chardy can hit some of the form that he showed towards the end of last season then he has a chance but he just hasn’t shown it on hard courts so far in 2011.

Backing Nishikori on serve is an option. I will be backing with half stakes from the start and if the match starts as I expect I will add the rest.

Update: When i don’t have live video I like to have at least 2 scoreboards for a match. Unfortunately when this one started only bet365 had a scoreboard. PaddyPower and the ATP one caught up later but I think it was around 5-5 by then.

Anyway, a tight first set was won by Nishikori in a tie break and he took the second set a little more easily.

Nishikori won 7-6, 6-2.

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