A couple of chokes from Benoit Paire proved costly last night, as the Frenchman failed not once but twice to put Gilles Simon away at the BNP Paribas Open on Monday.
Paire led by a set and 5-4 and served for a straight sets win only to be broken. He then took a 5-4 lead in the ensuing tie break, with two serves to come and failed again. In the end, despite winning more points in the match, Paire lost, which has been rather typical of the way that the ATP side of things has been going this tournament.
Tuesday’s play at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden sees the continuation of the third-round matches and I like the chances of Nicolas Almagro to move through to the fourth-round stage at the expense of Tommy Haas.
Nico was a quarter-finalist here last year before Novak Djokovic defeated him and these conditions suit his game more than a lot of other hard courts, although his results have been very good on most outdoor hard courts for a while now.
He should have beaten David Ferrer in Melbourne to reach the last four there, but choked and I think he’ll have too much for the German veteran today when this one begins at around 8pm UK time on Stadium Court 3.
They have met on two previous occasions and indeed Almagro should have won their most recent one on hard courts in Shanghai, but was unable to finish the job. Haas hasn’t been at his best so far this season and I would expect Almagro to get a bit of revenge today.
Tommy hasn’t been past the third round here at Indian Wells since 2008 and he would like it a touch quicker than is the case both here and Miami, where he also has a pretty poor record. In what should be an attractive match to watch, with plenty of beautifully his single-handed backhands, I prefer Almagro’s chances to Tommy’s today.
Best Bet: Back Almagro to beat Haas at 1.68
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