14:00 – Mathieu v De Bakker
Rankings are 66 and 49. They haven’t played before.
Over the past 12 months Mathieu has drifted outside the top 50 ranked players. De Bakker’s ranking is going the other way and has recently broken into that top 50.
Mathieu’s form has been pretty poor but he has come to life a little this week. A great 5 sets victory over Russian Youzhny in the last round was unexpected to say the least.
De Bakker had an easier last match beating Isner easily in 3 sets. The American was physically and mentally drained by his record breaking match less than 24 hours before.
De Bakker wins 79% of his service games and has a reasonably consistent first serve.
Mathieu has found some form at last and should make a decent game of it but I see De Bakker winning.
Back De Bakker on serve. Normally I would recommend backing him from the start but after Mathieu beat Youzhny you need to be cautious. If you back from the start you must be confident in your strategy for when it goes against you. Tips on that can be found on the TradeShark Tennis members area.
Update: Mathieu won 7-6, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4.
16:00 – Fognini v Benneteau
Rankings are 80 and 40. They haven’t played before.
Both players have had to fight hard to get to the third round. Fognini beat a below par Verdasco in 4 sets and then Russel in 5 sets on Thursday.
Benneteau has had 2 five setters to get here and lost the opening set in both matches. Against Vilegen in the first round he was 2 sets down.
Benneteua haas improved his first serve percentage to 66% and wins 75% of his service games.
Fognini has taken advantage of his opponents’ mistakes to get this far. Benneteau’s unforced errors should be fewer than Verdasco’s and also Russel’s and he will need to find a way through Benneteau on his own.
Watch the opening couple of games as usual to get a feel for who has settled quickest.
I am looking to back Benneteau on serve. His starting price is a little low to back him from the start as I think it could be a close match. There will be opportunities to get in at a better price.
Update: Benneteau won 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.
18:00 – Malisse v Querrey
Rankings are 63 and 21. Head to heads are 1-0 to Querrey which was earlier this month.
Both players are in good form with Querrey winning the Aegon Championship last week. Malisse reached the semi final of the Unicef open where he lost to eventual title winner Stakhovsky.
Querrey wins 87% of his service games. Malisse wins 80%.
This could be a very close match and will be ideal for Back the Server. Querrey relies heavily on his huge serve but can sometimes lack imagination when it comes to breaking an opponent’s serve.
I don’t see this ending in 3 sets.
Update: Querrey won 6-7, 6-4, 6-2, 5-7, 9-7.