Three finals today….
Simon v Fognini:
They have played 3 times before. All were on clay and oddly all were in 2009. Simon won them all. The set count is 6-1.
This is Fognini’s first main tour final and he fully deserves his place. I watched most of his match against Baghdatis and some of his shots were incredible. It wouldn’t be Foggy if there weren’t some simple errors but overall his level has been excellent. Seppi pushed him very close and to be honest I thought he was going out when Seppi went a break up in the third.
Simon hasn’t really been tested although he made life tricky against Kubot when he made a terrible start and lost the opening set. He has plenty of experience in finals and starts as a strong favourite.
Ideally Simon makes another slow start and goes a break down early. If he plays anywhere near his best form then I don’t give Fognini much chance so it is Simon’s to lose.
1.26 is way too low for me to be backing from the start. I would need at least 1.50 to 1.60 before being interested.
Update: Fognini broke at the first attempt but Simon broke back immediately.
Simon won 6-4, 6-3.
Nadal v Ferrer:
Head to heads are 14-5 in favour of Nadal. Their most recent match was at the end of December in the Abu Dhabi Exhibition event. Ferrer’s only win on clay was their first ever meeting back in 2004.
The last time they met on clay was last year’s Barcelona final and went to Nadal in straight sets.
Ferrer has had a couple of really tight matches with 4 of his last 5 sets being tie breaks against Raonic and Lopez. Nadal is back to his best form on clay and potentially tricky opponents in Verdasco and Tipsarevic were despatched extremely easily. Tipsarevic managed just 4 games and Verdasco lost the opening set of their semi final 6-0.
1.08 seems a bit harsh on Ferrer but the Spanish number 2 will have to come out with something exceptional to take the title today.
I’ll monitor the match and wait for a higher price but I fully expect not to make a trade in this one.
Update: Nadal was broken in his first service game but broke straight back. The set was settled in a tie break. In the second set Nadal broke first but Ferrer broke in the next game. Later in the set Ferrer broke and was broken back in the next game! Ferrer was broken when serving at 5-6.
Nadal won 7-6, 7-5.
Azarenka v Sharapova:
Azarenka leads the head to heads 5-3. The only time they met on clay Azarenka retired in the second set having won the first. that was Sharapova’s only “win” in the 4 matches they have played in the last year.
Sharapova was so close to being beaten by Stosur in the quarter final. The Aussie served for the match in the second set but choked under pressure. another tight match with Kvitova showed she is in fighting mood this week.
Azarenka’s toughest match of the week also came in the quarter finals. Barthel took time to settle but once she was into her stride she pushed the world number 1 right to the end of the third set.
Azarenka starts at 1.43 . I may take a little at that price but am more likely to let her price hit 1.70 . I think this will be the best final of the day but Azarenka will continue her 2012 winning ways. She has lost just 1 match this year.
Update: I actually missed this one which as it turned out was fortunate as I would probably have made a loss.
Sharapova won 6-1, 6-4.