In Hamburg Fognini takes on Delbonis.
Yesterday when I was doing the research for the Shark Tips service all the mechanical parts of my selection process pointed to an Almagro win over Fognini. Better serve stats, positive head to head among others were siding with the Spaniard but this is why any selection process can’t just be based on stats. Stats show trends and are very important to my own decision making but anyone who has seen at least a couple of Fognini’s matches over the last couple of weeks will know he is in a very special vein of form. Seeing him as underdog seemed too good to be true and we all know that more often than not when something seems too good to be true it will probably bite you on the arse. With this in mind I almost second guessed myself and still went against the stats but with a fairly conservative stake on Foggy.
The problem today is slightly different. Delbonis started the week very shakily and he was having real problems on serve against Reister. Since then his serve has become huge, no doubt fuelled by growing confidence.
He faced match points against Verdasco so perhaps should have left the tournament then but the Spaniard choked away the chance. Federer has been well below his best all week. An in form Federer is one of the best in the business at dealing with the big servers. After the early exchange of breaks neither man was able to break the other and to his great credit Delbonis held his nerve in the two tie breaks. He is playing way above his normal level and should not be written off today. This is a different sort of challenge for Fognini.
Fognini won’t find it easy to break the Delbonis serve but in Almagro he faced another big server. Almagro is second only to John Isner for the number of aces served this season.
It is hard to go against Fognini in this form and if the occasion is likely to get to either player it will be Delbonis.
I expect a higher price on Fognini but he will find a way.
Update: Delbonis won a late break to take the opening set. Early in set 2 Fognini was given a time violation when he collected a restrung racquet. He went nuts. He had broken in the first game of the set but was broken back and threw away the next game too. He was broken again before he calmed down. The old Fognini would have kept that sulk going all the way to the plane to Croatia but to give him credit he calmed himself down and pulled back to 5-5. The set went into a tie break. Delbonis had 3 match points with one in particular being an “easy” volley at the net. Fognini eventually took the tie break and the disappointment was just too much for the less experienced Delbonis.
Fognini won 4-6, 7-6, 6-2.
Meusburger has made it to the final of her home tournament. Taking the title would cap a superb run. Hers and Hlavackova’s stats recently aren’t all that different. Hlavackova edges the serve stats and Meusburger has better stats on return. I consider return stats more significant for the women on clay.
Meusburger is rightly the favourite but 1.30 is no value at all. She has been in several finals in ITF events but not a main tour one for a while before this run of form that also saw her reach the final last week. Finals can do strange things to some players’ minds.
Expect a few breaks and I am favouring Meusburger but not as strongly as the starting price wants me to.
Update: Plenty of breaks as expected. It was a poor quality final.
Meusburger won 7-5, 6-2.
Unless Serena has a brain fart afternoon does Larsson have much hope in their final? In a word, no.
Update: Larsson broke at the start of the match but that wasn’t fooling anyone.
Williams won 6-4, 6-1.
Karlovic’s career seemed to be in a rapid decline but the thin air at altitude has helped his serve this week. He has been serving bombs where other big servers’ deliveries have been flying long.
Falla has been enjoying the home support and he is obviously more used to the climate and conditions. His own serve has been good generally but he has given many more break opportunities.
We’re probably looking at 1 or more tie breaks but the Karlovic missiles should get the job done.
Update: Both served well but it was Karlovic who grabbed the only break.
Karlovic won 6-3, 7-6.