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Well we were one out of three on Monday, with Donaldson falling to the out of form Ramos in straight sets, Djokovic destroying Lajovic, with the Serb dropping just the one game, and Herbert saving our blushes with a comfortable win over the horrifically poor Paulo Lorenzi.
Today we take a look at 2 matches, both from the Challenger events which represent more value-based opportunities today in my opinion.
Clarke vs Santillan
This one is being played on the green clay of Sarisota, USA and I believe the Brit has a strong chance here. I’ve watched a lot of Clarke over the past few weeks and he’s really improving as a player, he is now established at Challenger level an certainly looks at home on the clay. Santillan is most certainly an enigma, he has the ability to win 4/5 games in a row, equally he can just check-out mentally and tank a set to love after he drops his serve. I think Clarke’s mental resilience and ability to make Santillan play one more ball today should be enough. The Brit has the better of the two serves, holding 75% of the time time on clay in recent months, against Santillan’s 67%, and the Brit has been winning 43% of his return points to the Aussie’s 42%, further backing up our evidence of a positive British outcome to this one. I’m with Clarke here, could well go 3 sets, i’d be very surprised if Santillan won this in straights.
Pavic vs King
This ones coming to us from the hard courts of Mexico, and is a repeat of their encounter earlier this month on the clay courts of Panama.. I watched this match and King just couldn’t compete against the big serve and powerful groundstrokes of Pavic and I fully expect it to be a similar story today, and was extremely surprised to see King as such a heavy pre-match favourite to be honest. I watched King against Quiroz last night and it was obvious that the Ucaudorian was uncomfortable on the hard court, and is much more at home on the clay, even saying that he won the first set against King 6-3, and probably should have won the match. In their first round matches Pavic won 77% of his service points, to King’s 71%. The Croat won 43% of his return points to King’s 45%, this slight disparity is likely to be more than made up for though with King’s weak serve, which I expect the Croat to break a few times today. Pavic to win this, again it might take 3 sets, King very unlikely to win in straights in my book.
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