Monica Niculescu – Kateryna Bondarenko
Bondarenko is on a 4 match winning streak, taking out Pennetta yesterday, which is probably why you’ll find the prices on Niculescu rising.
I’m still going against Bondarenko as consistency is not really her trademark. We have to go back to 2008 to find the last time she managed 5 wins on the trot at this level and she also lost 6-1 6-1 in her last meeting with Niculescu.
Svetlana Kuznetsova – Lucie Safarova
In January Safarova won against Kuznetsova after the latter had to give up due to injury. Now the russian seems back on track and we’ll give her a go even though Safarova beat Wozniacki yesterday. Prior to their meeting in January, Kuznetsova had beaten Safarova in their last 3 meetings.
Potito Starace – Carlos Berlocq
Moving on to Sao Paolo where you have to grant Berlocq that he’s in good shape, but Starace has so often proven too difficult a job for the Argentinian that I’ll take my chances on Starace.
They have met each other no less than 8 times before, and Starace has won no less than 8 times!
Leonardo Mayer – Jeremy Chardy
These 2 met each other for the first time ever on February 1st this year. 15 days ago. With Chardy winning in 2 sets on a similar surface. Do you need any other argument?
David Nalbandian – Gilles Simon
It’s really odd to find Simon here in South America playing clay court-tournaments. He’s never done that before and I’m guessing his stay won’t be long in Brazil.
This is his first clay court-match since July whereas Nalbandian has played one round already and also played on clay during the weekend in the Davis Cup.
Michael Russell – Denis Istomin
It’s a year ago that these 2 last met at the same tournament with Istoming winning in 2 sets and apparently he’s really fond of being here in San José. He’s reached the semifinal and quarterfinal the last 2 years and you won’t find any other ATP-tournament where he shows such consistency. Let’s go with him once again, since he started off really well by beating Querrey in his first match.
Julien Benneteau – Gilles Muller
I went against Muller is the first round and I’m not straying from the opinion that he won’t last long in this tournament. Benneteau is able to hold his own serve really well and he’s simply a better player.