13:00 – Stepanek v De Bakker
Rankings are 38 and 45. They haven’t played before.
Stepanek reached the semi finals here last year so seems to like the location and tournament set up. He has also reached a semi final and a quarter final in recent weeks and has been playing extremely well.
De Bakker looked like he was going to be one of tennis’ new stars this season but seems to have dropped his standard over recent weeks. Having said that if you look at the set scores in the matches he lost there are a lot of tight sets and even tie breaks. He has held serve 87% of the time and he will need that serve to be “on song” today.
Stepanek holds serve 81% of the time and converts more break point chances than his opponent. However its De Bakker who has better stats on return of serve. He seems to have lost some matches that he was in a position to win so perhaps today will come down to mental toughness. If thats the case the Stepanek is my pick to win.
See how they start the match to get an idea of who has settled first. Stepanek should be fine to back on serve.
Update: Stepanek won 6-3, 7-6.
15:00 – Isner v Haas
Rankings are 19 and 66. They haven’t played before.
A battle here of 2 big servers who aren’t the best returners in the world.
They hold serve 91% and 89% but if you look at their percentage of points won against first serves its just 20% for Isner and 28% for Haase.
I would say there’s a high probability of us seeing a tie break in this match and backing both on serve would seem like a good way to go.
If Isner is motivated then he has to favourite to win the tie breaks and the match.
Update: isner’s serve was terrible in the first set although he did manage to win the only tie break of the match.
Haase won 6-2, 6-7, 7-5.