Federer takes on Del Potro on home soil. Looking at their previous 2012 matches Fed doesn’t need home court advantage. They have played 6 times this year and Federer has won them all. In the 4 matches on hard courts Del Potro hasn’t managed to take a set.
Del Potro’s hero when he was younger was Roger Federer and the big man seems to find it difficult to mentally put himself on the same plane as the world number 1.
Del Potro didn’t seem to suffer with the back problem against Gasquet and obviously he will need to be close to fully fit to be able to compete.
Even though the stats are piled up in Fed’s favour I still feel 1.32 is a little short.
Against Anderson Del Potro’s first serve percentage was exceptionally high at 85% but in the first set he took so much power off the serve it was almost a second serve. He served just 2 aces in that match. Against Gasquet the first serve percentage dropped to a “normal” 69% as he went for the bigger serve more often. The ace count rose to 8, still below what we expect but it’s a positive sign.
Federer is of course human and I will be waiting for a higher price. A break point should see us above 1.60 and a great deal higher if it’s closer to the end of the set. It will be a real upset of Fed loses this in his own back yard.
In Valencia it’s Ferrer who enjoys home advantage against Dolgopolov.
Ferrer leads the head to heads 4-1 and 3-0 on hard courts. In the first 2 rounds he seemed to lack a little motivation and perhaps underestimated his opponents. However he got the job done in straight sets each time. Against Almagro he will have known he had to up his game and it was noticeable that his serving performance raised a couple of levels. He was under pressure in the second set against Dodig as his opponent served for the set. He broke back but lost the set in a tie break. In the decider he was all business and took it 6-1.
Dolgopolov can be flaky at the best of times but occasionally everything slots into place for him and this has been one of those weeks. Muller performed badly in their second round match but Dolgopolov didn’t give him anything to feed from. In the quarter finals he took on defending champ Granollers. Dolgopolov played almost faultless tennis and handed the local boy a big fat bagel. Granollers called an MTO for a problem with his arm but I think it was partly a momentum staller. It didn’t work. Dolgopolov broke him straight away in the second set and never looked like losing.
In the semi final many fancied Melzer to get through to the final as he had found some of his old form. Dolgopolov had other ideas. The market was going nuts in Melzer’s favour. At 2-2 Melzer was broken but as he had done in previous rounds he broke straight back. Dolgo broke again and held on for the set. In set 2 a double break finished the job.
Normally this would be a straightt forward win for Ferrer but with Dolgopolov in one of his special weeks this could go either way. I will be laying Ferrer with part stake at the start and will look to lay more if his price drops. As in the earlier final the stats are stacked for the home player but I feel Dolgopolov will take this close.
In Istanbul we don’t have a home favourite. Serena Williams hasn’t quite had everything her own way. She was a break down against Li in their opening set and a break down in the second set against Azarenka but still hasn’t lost a set this week. Azarenka claimed that both Radwanska and herself were injured but Serena was clearly the better player.
Sharapova had real problems with Radwanska and scraped through 7-5 in the third set. In fact all 3 sets finished 7-5. Against Stosur Sharapova’s task was made substantially easier by the Aussie’s inability to serve consistently. Not many expected the first set to end 6-0.
In the semi final, regardless of whether or not Azarenkaa was carrying an injury Sharapova played great tennis. 72% first serves and 7 aces tells us that she isn’t having the nightmares on serve that are a sometimes part of her game.
Williams leads the head to heads 9-2 and has won their last 8 matches. It’s 2004 since Sharapova beat her. Williams can look a little bored against lower ranked players and we have seen her get caught out in those situations. However she lives for the big matches as was plain to see especially in the first set against Azarenka. You can bet your life she will do anything and everything to make the point about who is the best player in the world. What better way to do that than by beating the numbers 1 and 2 at the year end championships?
We have seen Williams go a break down this week so there’s a chance that Sharapova can get into the lead too. I will wait for that higher price. It will take something very special from Sharapova to beat the Beast today.