Goffin v Malisse:
Malisse has played this event 3 times. He reached the final last year, the quarter final in 2008 and won the title in 2007. He obviously likes conditions in Chennai.
Goffin is a very capable player on hard courts but his fellow Belgian beats him is just about every stats category. Towards the end of last season Malisse found some great form taking both Tsonga and Djokovic to 3 sets. If he can continue that into 2012 then Goffin has little chance today.
Its Malisse’s to win or lose. Part stake on him from the start and hoping for a little higher in the first few games to add the rest.
Update: Malisse started well and took the first set but he was sweating like a priest at choir practice. The younger Goffin was better able to deal with the heat and humidity and he took the next 2 sets and the match.
Goffin won 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Gulbis v Youzhny:
This should be a close one. My first reaction when I saw this match up was that Youzhny was favourite. However the stats point to a Gulbis win.
Gulbis leads the head to heads 3-1 and all 4 encounters were over in straight sets ( one Gulbis win was due to Youzhny retiring in the second set). Their last match was at last years US Open which Gulbis won.
He has reached the quarter finals in the last 2 years in Doha losing to Nadal last year and Federer the year before.
Both players’ form was poor towards the end of last year but I see this one going to Gulbis. Don’t expect a top quality match but do expect a lot of price swings. I will be waiting before getting involved as they are close to evens.
Youzhny seems to have developed a habit of playing in bursts of 3 games. He can dominate for 3 games and then forget how to play for 3 games. It will be interesting to see if this continues this season.
Update: Gulbis made the better start and won an early break but Youzhny came back to take the set. Gulbis levelled the match at 1-1 but it was Youzhny who breezed through the 3rd set.
Youzhny won 6-4, 6-7, 6-2.