Indoor Hard Court – Best of 5 sets
Philipp Kohlschrieber GER (25) – David Ferrer ESP (5)
This match will be closely contested and I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw a five setter here. Both men have not been in the greatest form as of late and Kohlschrieber has a brilliant chance of using his shot making skills to cause a minor upset. The German is one of my favourite players on tour and the quick court will suit his attacking game. Ferrer will be hoping Kohlschrieber falls apart as he battles away from the back of the court. This could certainly happen as Kohlschrieber is not the most resilient player but if he is able to keep enough focus throughout the match he could trouble the rock solid defence of Ferrer.
Predicted winner :: Kohlschrieber
Indoor Hard Best of 5 sets
James Blake USA (8) – Paul Henri Mathieu FRA (12)
James Blake is a very talented player who has impressed me with his recent performances. In his last two tournaments he has gone out at the hands of Nadal but he pushed the Spaniard all the way with his attacking play. Mathieu’s form hasn’t been as eye opening but he will be a threat to the American as he is solid off both wings. Their serves are similar however Blake hits harder groundstrokes which will cause problems for Mathieu particularly on the forehand side which is where he will make a few mistakes. Having the home crowd on his side should bring out the best in Blake and he should win here but it won’t be easy.
Predicted winner :: Blake
Blake pips Mathieu at the finishing line
If this match was horse race, James Blake would have been riding into the last two furlongs ten lengths behind the impressive Paul-Henri Mathieu and punters would be counting their winnings.
But from out of nowhere the seemingly down and out horse, Blake, decides to challenge Mathieu and drives forward with his ears pricked to force a photo finish.
In dramatic scenes the photo finish reveals Blake has won by a nose and everyone is thinking how on earth did that happen.
This Davis Cup match was fantastic. It was a classic topsy turvy encounter you would have expected from Henman at Wimbledon. The court was very fast and both players were hitting their groundstrokes as hard as possible which made for a great watch.
Mathieu had looked impressive throughout the match, coming up with some unbelievable shots and never let his head drop even when going a set down and 2 sets to 1 down. It was no surprise when in the final set at four games all he broke the tiring Blake and won the chance to serve for the match.
This is never an easy game for anyone in such a close encounter but Mathieu made it look easy as he went 40-15 up giving him two match points.
Mathieu then bangs in a first serve and I am thinking game over however my tip Blake has other ideas and returns with a powerful forehand.
This point was incredible as Mathieu had a short forehand to win the game, but Blake somehow mustered up the energy to hook it back into play and eventually win the point.
Mathieu then hit another first serve on the second match point but again Blake hit the return twice as hard back at him, won the point and went on to break the Frenchman.
From then on I knew there was only going to be one winner, as mentally from having two match points on your own serve to being broken must have been devastating for Mathieu and Blake won the set 7-5.
I have never seen such a close match and people who say players are not bothered about Davis Cup because you can’t win ranking points are clearly wrong with this battle a prime example. You only had to look to the sidelines at Roddick up on his feet leading the support for Blake to see what this win meant to the Americans.
Final Score : Blake d Mathieu 76(5) 67(3) 63 36 75
My other tip Philipp Kohlschrieber won the first set against David Ferrer but then lost the next three in another below par performance. D Ferrer d P Kohlschrieber 67(3) 63 64 62
Indoor Hard Court – Best of 5 sets