Murray started his match with Tsonga as though he was still asleep. Maybe his preparation was affected by the rain delays and the fact that it was looking likely that they would play this morning but then the rain cleared and they had a relatively short time to get on court. If he thought he was going to cruise through he was wrong but it wasn’t until he was a set and double break point down that he stepped up a level and started playing. When he did that Tsonga couldn’t cope.
Cilic is playing as well as I have seen him play for a while. His consistency is the key thing that he has improved. He has had a little luck along the way. Lopez had chances in their third set. The Spaniard led 4-1 and 5-3 before Cilic pulled back to take the set 7-5. He was in a real battle with Hewitt in the semi final but the Aussie was struggling with injury and used all his energy to get to 1 set each. Cilic took the third set with a double break.
Murray leads the head to heads 9-1 but he will need to be focused from the first ball today. If he is then his grass game is far superior to Cilic’s. This really should be straight sets.
Youzhny has surprised a few people this week including me. He has had some help from his opponents along the way but is playing the best tennis we have seen from him for quite a while.
Federer’s form was good enough to get a little revenge over Haas. The German choked a little when a set up and his serve was nowhere near the amazing level we have seen in previous rounds. His 9 double faults were more than double his total for the rest of the week’s matches.
Federer leads the head to heads 15-0 . One of those wins was a walkover. In the 14 matches they have played Youzhny has won just 3 sets with the last one being at Wimbledon 2 years ago. Before that his last set was in Halle 2003.
I don’t expect Federer to waste the chance to get his first title of the year and even though Youzhny is playing close to his best I don’t think it will even come close to being enough.
The most competitive final of the day is likely to be in Birmingham.
Vekic is playing her first tournament on grass and seems to like the surface. Her attacking game is perfect for the surface. She has also dealt with the rain delays much better than her opponents this week which shows a mental strength beyond her 16 years.
Hantuchova has significantly more experience of playing finals although she has lost 9 of her 14. Vekic has been in just 1 final before today which she lost to Begu in Tashkent.
Hantuchova has better stats on serve over the last 3 months but Vekic has posted much better numbers on return of serve. If you look at stats for the last 2 weeks then their serve stats are almost the same.
As long as Vekic doesn’t let the occasion get to her I expect her to at least give a good account of herself and the value is most certainly with her.