Qatar (Doha) – Karlovic v Youzhny:
There was no live video for Karlovic’s match with Stakhovsky but I think he served just 2 aces in the first set. The fact that his serve wasn’t working anything like it can was demonstrated in the tie break which Stak won way too easily. Karlovic was able to improve in the second set and was able to take the match in the third set tie break.
Youzhny quickly went behind against Gulbis but turned it around to take the set. Gulbis fought back to take the second set in a tie break but Youzhny made short work of the third set.
They have only played once before which was in the 2008 OZ Open. Youzhny won that in straight sets.
In the first set yesterday Karlovic wasn’t even getting close to Stak’s serve and it wasn’t until the second set when Stak relaxed that he was able to break it. If his own serve isn’t winning him some easy games then I think he will find this a tough match up.
Youzhny’s serve, after a poor first couple of games, was pretty solid and he has more chance of breaking a substandard serve from Karlovic.
Part stake on Youzhny from the start. If Karlovic’s serve is better today the first set could be close.
Update: Youzhny broke serve in th very first game and won the set with another break. Karlovic came back to take the second set in a tie break but Youzhny took the third.
Youzhny won 6-2, 6-7, 6-3.
Brisbane – Jankovic v Schiavone:
Jankovic leads the head to heads 4-2 with one of Schiavone’s wins coming on clay and the other on a hard court back in 2004.
Jankovic has dealt with her first two opponents comfortably in straight sets. Schiavone is also yet to lose a set but she was in trouble in the first round and perhaps wouldn’t have made it through that match if her opponent hadn’t retired injured.
Both can be fragile on serve but over all Jankovic is the stronger hard court player and I expect her to win this in 3 sets.
Anything over 1.70-1.75 is decent value on her.
Update: This went pretty much as expected apart from the result! JJ started as the better player and took an early lead but then Schiavone started to play and broke back. Another break for JJ gave her the set. Schiavone came back to take the second in a tie break and it was she who came out on top in the third.
Schiavone won 5-7, 7*6, 6-3.