I woke up early this morning. How sad’s that? Like a kid at Christmas.
Obviously we have lots of matches today. 64 in total. First round matches don’t offer much value at starting prices unless of course the market has the wrong favourite.
I was surprised to see that the market has Baltacha as favourite against Pennetta although I think she has a decent chance based on her performance last week. She took the opening set from Kirilenko and pushed her close in sets 2 and 3. She relies heavily on her serve so if that starts to falter she has real problems.
Pennetta is more at home on clay but is a decent grass court player and reached the third round at last year’s Olympics.
While Baltacha’s serve is firing she is in with a good chance but if she starts thinking about things too much then she is in trouble.
Pennetta has won both their previous matches and I will be laying Baltacha when a break up.
Update: Baltacha was broken in the very first game. After that she did play well but wasn’t able to save the set. In set 2 she was again broken early but kept fighting. Pennetta played a superb match from start to finish.
Pennetta won 6-4, 6-1.
Isner and Donskoy have met just once before. Last week. Donskoy won in 3 sets.
The best of 5 set format in slams should help Isner today. The longer matches allow the better players to make a few errors as they have time to put them right.
Isner’s price today is 1.36 compared to 1.18 last week. You would expect a former top 10 player to be able to make the adjustments needed to correct his mistakes from the last match but you can’t back him at this price. If he loses the first set then he’s a better bet over the 5 sets.
Update: I think we can say Isner made the adjustment in the first set at least. Reverted to type in sets 2 and 3.
Isner won 6-1, 7-6, 7-6.
Jamie Hampton has played a LOT of tennis recently. It’s her own fault as she keeps winning! Last week she reached the final as a qualifier which meant she played 8 matches beating the likes of Radwanska, Wozniacki and Safarova along the way. After just 1 day’s rest how heavy will her legs be today.
Her opponent is Sloane Stephens who seems to have decided that the best way to prepare for Wimbledon was to play no matches on grass. She was in decent form on the clay reaching the 4th round of the French Open.
They have played twice before with the most recent being a year ago on a hard court. Hampton won in 2 tight sets.
If Hampton was well rested I would have no hesitation in backing her to win this match but she isn’t a machine. She will fight from start to finish but I don’t expect that her movement will be good today and she will try to compensate by going for more riskier shots to shorten the rallies.
If Hampton can get herself into a lead early and if Stephens isn’t spraying balls like a scatter gun I will be laying Hampton.
Update: Now she gets a rest. Stephens won 6-3, 6-3.
In other matches of interest Fognini takes on Melzer who apparently has hinted that he will retire after his home tournament. His target for Wimbledon is to survive the first round ( thanks to zoli86 on TI for this info).
Melzer has won both their previous matches but the most recent was in 2011. His recent form has been terrible.
Fognini reached the quarter finals in Eastbourne and whilst grass isn’t his favourite surface I think he takes this one. He starts at 1.49 which is too low as Melzer may come out swinging. I’ll look to back Fognini when a break down in the first set.
Update: The Fognini plan worked well as he was broken straight away but came back to take the set. I’m glad I wasn’t greedy though as melzer took the next 3!
Melzer won 6-7, 7-5, 6-3, 6-2.
Wickmayer isn’t the most stable of women at the best of times and I will be surprised if she doesn’t have a shaky match today. She fell apart in her semi final last week against Vesnina and from being 2-1 up she lost the next 11 games. 1.35 seems a crazy price on her today.
Update: She started really well but as expected fell apart.
Dolonc won 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Hradecka looks a decent shout IF her serve is working. She is in reasonable form and whilst Knapp can be tricky Hradecka’s serve can carry her through. She starts at 1.66 .
Update: Serve? What serve?
Knapp won 6-3, 6-4.