For the penultimate time in 2013 it’s semi-final Saturday on the ATP World Tour and we’re down to the last eight contenders in Valencia and Basel.
Grigor Dimitrov was hugely disappointing against Roger Federer yesterday in failing to take more than one break point from his 10 opportunities. Three of those chances would have given him set two against the Swiss.
The Bulgarian also failed to serve out that set and, as I said he might be yesterday, he was overcome by the occasion, plus his often questionable fitness let him down. Roger Rasheed has a big job on his hands to sort out that side of Grigor’s game.
In Valencia, Fabio Fognini had a chance to win the opener against Nico Almagro but having missed his set-point opportunity in the tie-break, that was that for Fogna. In time-honoured fashion he faded in the second set.
Today’s semi-finals don’t exactly look competitive, with the likes of Juan Martin Del Potro, Roger Federer and David Ferrer all looking highly likely winners today, while the match between Mikhail Youzhny and Dmitry Tursunov looks priced up about right.
David Ferrer vs Nicolas Almagro
This 7pm UK time semi-final in Valencia looks like a sure thing for Ferrer. He’s the nemesis of poor old Nico, who has lost all 13 of his previous matches against his fellow Spaniard.
Even when holding a two set lead over Ferrer in their most recent encounter in Melbourne at the start of this season, Nico was unable to see it out. He served for a straight sets win that day before losing in five.
The match-up is perfect for Ferrer in as much as his solid game makes the inconsistent Almagro play one shot too many. Invariably the ball ends up in the doubles alley or in the back fence as Nico over-presses to get the ball past Ferrer’s defences
The vast majority of their previous meetings have come on clay and their only two meetings on indoor hard have come here in Valencia where it’s also quite slow. It would be interesting to see them meet somewhere quicker like Tokyo or Shanghai, where Almagro would have a better shot.
I can’t see anything other than a Ferrer victory and the minus 3.5 games on the handicap looks the call at 1.75. David hasn’t been in great form lately, but this is his home town and he always puts it in here. This is bad news for Almagro, who may well mentally check out if he loses set one.
I’ve been trying to think of reasons why Del Potro and Federer won’t win in Basel today, but I’m struggling, as Delpo has the limited Edouard Roger-Vasselin as the opponent, while Federer faces an injured Vasek Pospisil.
I can’t see Delpo not winning his match fairly comfortably against an opponent with few weapons, while Pospisil’s neck injury is not ideal preparation for a match against Federer in his home town.
There may be some value in the Canadian winning a set at 2.30, but it’s a gamble on how he’s feeling after extensive treatment and using painkillers yesterday.
Back Ferrer –3.5 games to beat Almagro at 1.75
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