Almagro v Simon
Simon proved me wrong for the third time yesterday. This is becoming a habit! I expected him to be tired after his match of long rallies with Monfils but it was Youzhny who ran out of steam. He has had 3 tough three set matches in a row. That has to have some effect.
Almagro hasn’t had much trouble getting to the final and hasn’t lost a set. He has been serving exceptionally well all week and will be the fresher of the 2 finalists.
They have played twice before and the head to heads are 1-1. Simon won their last match which was on a hard court. He won in two tie break sets. Their other match was on clay and it was Almagro who won it easily.
I can’t ignore the fact that Simon is in fantastic form and his defensive capabilities have kept him in the matches and his fitness has outlasted his opponents. I stand by my opinion that he struggles against aggressive play though. Monfils won his set by using this tactic and Youzhny was all over the Frenchman until his fitness let him down. Almagro has been full of attitude and fire all week. He was a little subdued against Verdasco but I feel that was due to his respect for his fellow Spaniard but that didn’t dampen his aggressive play. That aggression will bring him the title today.
Normally on clay I would expect a straight sets win for Almagro but Simon’s form this week suggests another 3 setter. Almagro will win the first set as he will come out firing and his natural aggressive play will force Simon into errors as we have seen from previous matches this week.
Update: Simon was just upstoppable this week. He won 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
Zvonareva v Pervak
Both players have lost just 1 set this week and have looked in solid form.
Zvonareva won their only previous match in straight sets last year which was also on a hard court. She starts as a strong favourite for this one but as its a final anything can happen. I feel her price of 1.22 is a little short and has to be a lay from the start. If she is to struggle today then I think it will come from her own mistakes and whilst she is more than capable of having a very poor first set if she is focussed for this match it could be over very quickly.
Update: Zvonareva won 6-1, 6-4.
Fish v Isner
This is a repeat of last year’s final which went to Fish in a third set tie break. Fish leads the head to heads 2-1 with Fish winning both matches on fast courts.
All their previous matches have gone to 3 sets and there has been a tie break in every match. For a player with such a big serve Isner’s record in tie breaks isn’t that great. This will be another dull match in Atlanta dominated by serve.
Back to back titles are quite unusual and Isner isn’t known for his mental toughness.
Fish takes this in 3 sets.
Update: One bad service game handed the first set to Isner. he then broke in the first game of the second set but Fish broke straight back. The set ended in a tie break. Isner was ahead in the tb but Fish came back to level the match. It was Fish who took the third set and the title 3-6, 7-6, 6-2.