The last eight players remaining at the 2013 Moselle Open are set to do battle at the Metz Expo on Friday, with play starting later today at 1pm UK time.
My sole wager on Thursday was a winner, with Benjamin Becker eventually taking care of Albano Olivetti despite blowing a 5-1 and 6-2 lead in the opening set tie-break. The German managed to regroup well after losing that set and came through 6-3, 6-1 in the final two sets.
Becker opens proceedings today in Metz and the German faces Nicolas Mahut for, surprisingly, the first time in their careers. These two veterans of the tour are separated by just one place in the rankings and that match between the two experienced campaigners is pretty much a pick ‘em.
Sam Querrey vs Gilles Simon
The second match on the card today takes place at no earlier than 2pm UK time and I’ll be siding with the Frenchman here against the American.
Simon eased himself back into the tour yesterday in style against a tall, big-serving, essentially limited opponent and that’s pretty much what he faces again today. To be fair to Big Sam, he does have more weapons than Kenny De Schepper, but he has shown nothing over the summer. A tight win over Ivo Karlovic and retirement by last opponent Paulo Mathieu won’t have added much to the belief bank.
The Frenchman’s style of play is just what Querrey won’t want to face. Expect extended rallies, where Sam’s suspect ground strokes will eventually break down, as they have in three of the four career meetings between the pair.
Simon’s time away from the tour will mean that his often brittle body will have had some much needed rest and he could be one to watch for the remainder of the season. The home hope returns very well and is in seventh place on the tour this year in first serve return points won, one place behind Andy Murray. That will be vital here against Querrey’s huge delivery. I like Simon’s chances at 1.70.
The opening match of the evening session features tournament favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who should ease through against Tobias Kamke, while Florian Mayer and Carlos Berlocq is a tougher one to call and Mayer looks short to me there at around 1.42. Berlocq had a late one last night against Phillip Kohlschreiber, but has time to recover and the 1.65 about him taking a set is worthy of consideration there.
Back Simon to beat Querrey at 1.70
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