It’s semi-finals day at the Peterburgsky Sport Complex in St Petersburg, with the action beginning at around 9am UK time today.
Friday’s wager in the quarter-finals brought a nice reward when Michal Przysiezny was too strong for Lukas Rosol and the ‘Polish Federer’ came through in three to make his first ever tour level semi-final.
Michal Przysiezny vs Ernests Gulbis
These two will be very familiar with each others’ games, as today’s meeting will be the fifth time they’ve met in all competitions, with the series currently tied at 2-2. Gulbis is in full cockiness mode at the moment if reports are to be believed of the casual arrogance that he displayed in his post match interview on Friday and I wouldn’t be surprised if Przysiezny pushed him harder than he clearly expects to be today.
Przysiezny’s one-handed backhand is a delight to watch and is presumably one of the main reasons for his comparison to Federer. It was far more reliable than Rosol’s double hander on Friday.
If he gets that flowing he’ll cause problems for the Latvian, who, in fairness, talked the talk and walked the walk in a simple win over Roberto Bautista-Agut yesterday. A repeat of that form will see Gulbis through here, but at 1.20 I’m not sure I trust Ernie to produce and I prefer the 1.68 about Przysiezny +4.5 games here.
Joao Sousa vs Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
Sousa continues to defy all reasonable logic regarding his fitness. He’s now played 16 sets in a week and had to travel, but it seems not to be bothering him at the moment. The Portuguese is clearly enjoying conditions here this week. He’s improving all the time on hard courts after his US Open run and he capped that off with a straight sets win over a disappointing Dmitry Tursunov yesterday.
He now faces Garcia Lopez, who is also finding playing conditions to his liking here and who was a comfortable winner over Denis Istomin on Friday. GGL likes the fact that these courts allow him to play his baseline game and don’t hurry him too much. It’s been good enough this week so far and I think it will be again today.
The Spaniard rarely does things easily though and in this first meeting between the pair I expect Sousa to put up a fight . Sousa +1.5 sets appeals at 1.65, but I prefer taking a chance on GGL to win this one 2-1 at a tempting 3.60, as he should have the physical edge if it goes to three sets.
Back Garcia-Lopez to beat Sousa 2-1 at 3.60
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