Saturday is semi-finals day in the only ATP World Tour event on week 38, the Moselle Open in Metz, France.
And I’m hoping for some better luck today after a classic choke for the ages from Paul-Henri Mathieu let me down on Friday.
The Frenchman failed with four match points (three of them at 0-40) to beat Joao Sousa 7-5 in the decider, but blew the lot, with the final one being the sorriest of efforts into the bottom of the net.
And that was after he failed to serve the match out at *5-3, with two double faults, capping a miserable service game against the battling Portuguese.
Earlier, my thoughts on David Goffin keeping it tight against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga proved correct in sets two and three, but not the first, as the Belgian stunned Tsonga with a fine comeback.
Tsonga should really have won that match on a bad day for French players failing to see leads out.
Indeed, only Gael Monfils won of four favourites on Friday, as Philipp Kohlschreiber retired with an injured shoulder at 0-5 down against Jan-Lennard Struff in the other quarter final.
David Goffin vs Jan-Lennard Struff
Probably not the semi final that the tournament directors were hoping for and hardly one to set the pulse racing, but it should go the way of Goffin.
Struff has been serving well this week in Metz, but I doubt it will be enough against the Belgian, who will be delighted with only his second win in 21 matches over a top-20 ranked player yesterday.
Tsonga did rather give it away, but Goffin deserves some credit for coming back from that nightmare start and it seems very unlikely that he’ll fail to back that win up in this 13:00 UK time start today.
Struff can be decent, but he doesn’t look to have much of a big match temperament at the moment and he is yet to win an ATP World Tour semi final in his career.
Goffin has only won one, but he’s only played one, and he seems to be the better of the two when it comes to temperament.
The Belgian won their only career meeting on slow, outdoor hard in Miami this spring and I don’t see an upset in this one, with the –3.5 games at 1.74 appealing on Goffin here.
Joao Sousa vs Gael Monfils
Now that he’s completed his obligations to his mum by winning two matches here Monfils should be thinking about winning the title now – but who knows?
In typical Gael style he’s been moaning about fatigue, with his latest offering after the Jerzy Janowicz match reading: “Mentally I am already gone, but physically now too.”
Ever the drama queen, Monfils' utterings shouldn’t be taken too much at face value, and I would expect him to come out and take down the determined Sousa here.
Monfils has only five ATP World Tour titles to his name in his career and with Tsonga now out I would expect him to see this is a decent opportunity for a sixth title, but this is Lamonf we’re talking about.
He defeated Sousa indoors in France in Montpellier on his way to the title there back in February, so that could be a good omen for the home favourite, and the fact that he’s not scheduled to play next week could be key.
Sousa has been surprisingly determined here, given he’s defending in Kuala Lumpur next week, but he’ll need all his seemingly inexhaustible energies for that now after another long one last night.
The Portuguese has been a little fortunate to play two known chokers in final set tie breaks, but this match-up – assuming Gael can be bothered – looks a poor one for Sousa.
Monfils should win it, but he’s awfully short at 1.13 for a player of his unreliability and I might be tempted to go with the under 20.5 games here at 1.82, but it looks a no bet for me, with Monfils no value at all.
Back Goffin -3.5 games to beat Struff at 1.74