Thursday Topspin: Capitalizing

Open quarters: Of the eight men left standing in Barcelona, five are seeded in the top eight.  The other three are unseeded, but only one needed to pull a major upset to get to the quarters.

That man is Ivan Dodig, who took out Robin Soderling in the 2nd round, allowing the Swede only six games.  It’s been a breakthrough season for the Croatian, who will crack the top 50 thanks to his performance this week.  He backed up the 2nd-round win with a tough three-setter against Milos Raonic today.  Perhaps most impressive, he reeled off seven points in a row to win a first-set tiebreak.

Dodig has an opportunity to go even further, as the man seeded to face him in the quarters was Tomas Berdych, who withdrew.  Instead, his next opponent is Feliciano Lopez, who defeated Kei Nishikori today, after upsetting Guillermo Garcia-Lopez yesterday.  Thus, at least one semifinalist will be unseeded.

That man will almost certainly face Rafael Nadal in the semis.  Nadal, as goes without saying, breezed through his match today against Santiago Giraldo–if anything, it’s surprising that he failed to win 60% of total points.  Nadal’s quarterfinal opponent is Gael Monfils, who won in straight sets over Richard Gasquet–a positive result for Monfils, who just scraped by Robin Haase in the second round.

Predictions: There aren’t betting lines yet for all of the quarterfinals, but I have run my algorithm to get percentages for tomorrow’s four matches:

  • Nadal vs. Monfils: Oddsmakers have the Frenchman at 30-1, which seems excessive to me.  Yes, of course, Rafa is the heavy favorite, and yes, of course, Gael could self-destruct and play no better than Giraldo did today.  But on the other hand, Monfils is one of the few men with a game that could–if the stars aligned exactly right–beat Nadal on clay.  My system gives Gael a 20% chance, which as I’ve commented before, is just a reflection of how my system doesn’t know what to do with someone so surface-dominant as Nadal.
  • Dodig vs. Lopez: After beating Soderling, Dodig will no doubt gain several places in my ranking system, but that won’t happen until next Monday.  As it is now, my algorithm isn’t too impressed, especially with Dodig’s potential on clay.  It gives Feliciano a 64% chance of reaching the semis.
  • Jurgen Melzer vs. David Ferrer: Even after Melzer’s impressive victory over Roger Federer last week, Ferrer is still the favorite here.  I have him at 60.5%, while early sportsbook odds set him at 77%.
  • Nicholas Almagro vs. Juan Carlos Ferrero: It’s nice to see Ferrero right back in the mix, even if it took some good fortune to get him there.  In fact, he just barely got by Simone Vagnozzi today, a result that must have Almagro licking his lips in anticipation.  Early sportsbook odds have Almagro at 78%, while my system puts him at 70%.

Streaking southpaw: Thomas Schoorel isn’t letting up–after winning a title last week, he hasn’t lost a set this week, including his opening-round upset of Jeremy Chardy.  Tomorrow he’ll face 5th-seed Ivo Minarin the semis.

Another man to watch on the challenger tour is Aljaz Bedene, the Slovenian who won his first title at this level three weeks ago in Barletta.  Last week he reached the semifinals in Blumenau, and he’s in another quarter in Santos, where he’ll next face 5th-seed Diego Junquiera.

See you tomorrow!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Thursday Topspin: Capitalizing

  1. I wouldn’t call F-Lo’s win against G-Lo an upset and he will be a handful for Dodig imo. Nasty serve and slice I know not fashionable it seems but works for me. His forehand is better than everyone thinks it is too.

    I haven’t seen Simone Vagnozzi , but what’s up with him. He must be good.

    Monfils could give Rafa a fright for a set but won’t keep it together to pull off the win as much as I like him.

    Ferrer vs. Melzer will be good. I pick Ferrer as well.

  2. Tom Welsh

    Yes, Vagnozzi certainly is a revelation. He was losing to Fognini until the latter pulled out with an injury, but then he took off. Beating Monaco 6-4,
    6-1 on clay is quite a feat, and his fine performance in pushing Ferreo all the way confirms it.

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