Cilic starts at a huge 1.87 against local wild card entry Kamke. The German player beat 2 good claycourters in Chela and Riba and he beat them easily to get to this stage. Cilic on the other hand needed 3 sets to get past Bastian Knittel.
I think this will be very close and i would actually give a slight edge to Kamke. Cilic would be an obvios choice but he often doesn’t win matches that you’d expect him to. I’ll wait to see how they start but I am looking to lay Cilic if his serve is a little below par.
Update: Cilic was poor in the firsts et and made a boat load of unforced errors. Kamke took the set and seemed in control in the second set but midway through the set he started making errors. This allowed Cilic to come back and the errors continued to flow handing the set to Cilic. Kamke pretty much fell apart in the second set and Cilic won 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Simon could struggle against Nieminen. The Fin won their last match which was also on clay and also at Hamburg. He has come back refreshed from his break after Wimbledon and seems to be playing decent tennis ( as far as you can tell from a scoreboard! ). I’m not convinced at Simon’s motivation here and he doesn’t have a good record at this event.
I’ll be laying from the start and will manage the position from there. Its a likely 3 setter but I am going for Nieminen to take it.
Update: What a poor match! Both players were struggling to hold serve and Simon took an early lead but allowed Nieminen to come back. The set went to a tie break which either player had chances to win but it was Simon who took it. Nieminen raced into a lead in the second set and levelled the match. An early break in the third set put Simon in the driving seast and he was able to hold out for the win. 7-6, 3-6, 6-4.
The graph of the first couple of sets gives you an idea of how the match went!
Almagro takes on Kohlschreiber in his own back yard. Kohlschreiber got past Golubev and Montanes who retired half way through the second set. The German leads the head to heads 3-2 and also leads their clay matches 2-1.
Almagro has been through a slump in form but seems to have improved recently. He reached the semi final in Sweden and got the job done in unspectacular style in the second round here. If he is on form then I rate him as a better clay courter than Kohlschreiber.
Germans often play better on home soil so that may level things up a bit. If Almagro can avoid his trademark slow start then he has to be favourite. I’lll wait before getting involved but will be on Almagro once I see he is up for the fight.