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Looking back on Wednesday’s predictions, we did pretty well; Jay Clarke beat Santillan as expected, and Betfair Traders will have made a nice early profit there if backing Clarke from the start, as he broke the Aussie’s serve in the opening games of the match, and then held his own to lead 2-0. Pavic couldn’t beat King though, however those who took the advice that it wouldn’t be a straight sets victory for King could well have traded a nice profit by backing Pavic at the start of the second set, which he won comfortably 6-2.
Onto today, and we’re going to be looking ahead at one of the Quarter Final matches in Monte Carlo and likewise from clay courts of Tunisia on the Challenger Tour.
Nishikori vs Cilic – Monte Carlo Masters 1000
A really interesting matchup this, Cilic is playing half injured and Nishikori is playing his first Masters 1000 after returning from a long time out with injury. I do however think this, Nishikori has looked back to his best in patches this week, i think he looks, fast, strong and hitting the ball extremely cleanly. Cilic i think has looked sluggish, and if Verdasco wasn’t basically playing on one leg, I think the Spaniard would have been the Cilic comfortably in the last round. Nishikori leads the head to head 7-6, and as one their only meeting on clay, back in 2014 in Barcelona. Cilic has won the pair’s last 3 meetings today though, although one of those (Wimbledon 2016) Cilic won due to Nishikori having to retire injured.
Let me run through my thinking on this one; I believe Nishikori will win at least a set, if he does he will either win in straights or the match will go the distance, Nishikori to me looks like he still has plenty in the tank physically, whereas with Cilic being injured, i’m not sure he can go go another 3 sets, especially not against someone who’s going to be making him move from side to side a lot. Cilic’s largest weapon is his serve, however he’s only held serve 81% of the time this week, as apposed to Nishikori’s 85%. CIlic has won 40% of his return points, versus Nishikori’s 46%, so the stats also back up my theoretical views on this one.
Giving all of the above, i’m baffled by the bookies making Cilic the favourite, I think there seems to be far too much assumption on their part that Nishikori isn’t going to be physically up to it today, I don’t agree. I’m taking Nishikori for the win, and quite possibly even in straight sets.
Rosol vs Gimeno-Traver – Tunis ATP Challenger
Rosol picked up a good win on Wednesday against Bonzi in 3 sets, and his first round match he won because of a Taberner retirement after the first set (which Rosol won 7-5). Gimeno Traver has had two good wins against Novak and Elias this week, and is naturally the more comfortable of the two on this surface. The Spaniard is having a very good season and has won a title on the dirt already this season, an ITF event in Paguera back in February, he has also been runner-up in two other ITF events this season (another in Paguera and Murcia). Rosol has the better serve of the two, and is likely to lead the ace count today. Gimeno-Traver is however an impressive returner, so don;t be surprised to see a few breaks of serve in this match from both player.
Rosol will look to attack where he can, especially off his forehand side. Gimeno Traver is a strong counter-puncher and will look to be patient and counter-punch given the opportunity. I think the Spaniard’s greater level of consistency will be enough today, and i side with him for the win.
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