Take nothing for granted this week. Some strange results so far.
Berlocq wasn’t great against Haider-Maurer yesterday and even allowing for a day of crazy matches Almagro should quit if this isn’t an easy victory.
Riba takes on Dolgopolov who ended a run of bad results with a straight sets win over Volandri. If Dolgopolov can bring even a fraction of his normal standard to the court then he is a strong contender. Riba’s run of form was halted by injury in Bercelona and he has struggled to regain any momentum. He will make a game of this but I have to favour Dolgopolov. Riba has yet to win a set in their 2 previous matches.
Stakhovsky’s good clay form continued yestrday with a solid win over Gabashvili. Apart from the very first game when he went 0-40 down on his won serve and then pulled back to take the game his serve looked extremely good. Early in the match he was hitting the ball very sweetly on both wings. Robin Haase made the most of his lucky loser opportunity by replacing Cuevas against Lu. He came through it in straight sets. These two haven’t played before but I expect them both to serve well and we should have a very close match. 1.82 is a tempting price for Stakhovsky and I expect him to take this. He has an excellent record in tie breaks having won 6 of his last 7.
Kohlschreiber plays Gimeno Traver in the World Team Cup. Kohlschreiber still makes me nervous despite his improved recent form. He beat an injured Tipsarevic this week and also Youzhny in Rome last week although having seen Youzhny play yesterday that result is less surprising. G-T has recently beaten Melzer and also Gasquet on clay. The German should take this but I will be avoiding it. Its difficult to find players you can trust this week.
Benneteau beat Baghdatis yesterday in a reversal of the score from their previous encounter. Baggy took a 3-0 lead in the first set and then just seemed to crumble. Benneteau played well and just refused to go away. In the end Baggy made way too many unforced errors. Andujar had an easy win yesterday when Dimitrov retired at 0-5 in the first set. His form has dropped recently and I feel that Benneteau infront of his home crowd will be tough to break down. Andujar will probably put up more of a fight than Baghdatis did.
Gulbis was less than impressive against Fognini. He lost the first set with some awful tennis but did fight back to take the match. Istomin came through in straight sets against Rochus although needed a tie break in the second set. Even with a below par performance I’d expect Gulbis to win this. His serve can get him out of trouble. I’m hoping yesterday’s comeback will give him a boost of confidence that he really needs.