The blogging itch has returned so I have decided to keep a good thing going. Despite a mediocre 3-2 record yesterday (though I did pick the upset of Fognini over Robredo), we’re going to try to do better with our picks today.
There are several top level matches tomorrow in Shanghai and I expect one fairly significant and one minor upset. Let’s get to it:
Juan Martin Del Potro vs. Tommy Haas
Delpo holds the significant edge in this head-to-head match-up with a 5-0 record, with all five wins coming on hard courts. Their most recent tilt during this year’s US Open Series in Washington was actually their closest match. The ultimate result was a 7-6 6-3 win for Delpo but in Game Score it was a 99-99 tie. This comes after a whitewashing in both line and game scores at Indian Wells earlier in the year.
I think Haas might keep it close, but JMDP has too much fire power. I’ll take Del Potro in two competitive sets.
Gael Monfils vs. Roger Federer
Federer holds the overall match-up edge 6-1, but their last meeting on hard courts was Monfils’ only win – 7-6 6-7 7-6 in Paris in 2010. While Monfils was able to win the clutch points during the tiebreakers, Federer actually got the better of the play with a 101-97 game score.
Of course, Federer has not displayed the same form that he did in 2010 (neither has Monfils mind you). I think that Federer is well rested and primed to make a run in Shanghai. Monfils will keep it close, but I think Federer wins in 3 sets.
UPSET OF THE DAY:
Japanese #1 Kei Nishikori will take on Frenchman Jo-Wilfrid Tsongo tomorrow in what should be an immensely entertaining match. The oddsmen have installed Tsonga as the favorite though the series match-up is 2-0 for Nishikori.
Both previous meetings have come on hard courts with Nishikori prevailing in five tough sets in Australia in 2012 and in 3 competitive sets at this same Shanghai tournament back in 2011. Particularly impressive for Nishikori was his ability to win 42% of return points in Australia leading to a fairly convincing 106-93 Game Score win. (The 2011 Shanghai match produced a 99-99 Game Score tie).
I like Nishikori to continue playing good tennis, especially on his return of serve. This match will be very close, but in my upset of the day, I’ll take Nishikori in 3 very tight sets.
Tomas Berdych vs. Nicolas Almagro
These two are very familiar with one another’s games as they have faced off an impressive 12 times. Both have had blow-out victories against the other on hard courts, but Berdych has dominated the overall match-up 9-3.
Their last two tilts featured zero breaks for Almagro on Berdych’s serve – in fact, Berdych did not even face a break point in their 2012 Stockholm match-up. Berdych dominated both of those matches and will likely do so again.
I’ll take Berdych in 2 easy sets.
MINOR UPSET SPECIAL:
Last, but not least, I was wrong about top Canadian Milos Raonic in today’s match-up against Verdasco, who he managed to defeat in a tight affair. Tomorrow, the Missile takes on Stanislas Wawrinka, who he has only played once before.
In their previous match, Wawrinka converted his only break point of the contest, leading to a tough 3 set victory in Cincinnati. Milos actually got the better of the play as is evidenced by his thin 101-98 Game Score victory.
I fear some fatigue from the big Canadian who has played a lot of tennis in the last few weeks, but this is a big match in terms of gaining entry into the World Tour Finals in London in November.
Maybe I’m a sentimentalist Canadian, but I’ll take Raonic in the mild upset, in 3 tight sets.
Djokovic over Fognini in 2
Nadal over Berlocq in 2
Ferrer over Mayer in 2