Conditions: Showers and possible thunderstorms later, top of 23 degrees Celsius
Just when you think it is time to give up on Pavlasek taking his game to the next level, he goes out and wins a Challenger Title in Rome 2 weeks ago. Adam’s 2018 got off to a spluttering start, losing to Krstin in the first round of qualifying at the Australian Open in a 3rd set tiebreak. After plodding through a month of hardcourt Challenger tournaments, Pavlasek made the call to go back to Futures level tennis, where he fell in the ¼ final to 482nd ranked Juan Pablo Varillas Patino Samudio in 3 sets. After failing to force his way through qualifying for the Challenger tournament in Marbella (lost in 2nd rd qualifying to Coppejans), Pavlasek then knocked off Dudi Sela in a claycourt Davis Cup rubber. After another 1st round and 2nd round loss in Barletta and Otrava respectively, he then went on to win the Rome Challenger with the following results:
- Defeated Halys in 3 sets
- Defeated Gianessi in 2 sets
- Defeated Heras (LL) in straight sets
- Defeated Quinzi in 3 sets (7-5 third set)
- Defeated Djere 7-6 6-7 6-4
Pavlasek found himself a very heavy favourite in the first round of qualifying against Blaz Kavcic, who has 3 claycourt victories on clay since the start of 2017. For a surface that is his least favourite, and considering he retired after the first set, Pavlasek had a world of trouble on his serve. His 4 service games ended:
1) Broken to Deuce (saved 3 break points before broken)
2) Broken to 0
3) Held to 30
4) Held to Deuce (saved 1 break point, originally had 40/15)
I would have expected a lot better, however it is hard to gauge too much off such a small sample size. The whole 2018 clay season? Disappointing for the most part. The past fortnight? Impressive. It really depends how you approach it.
Hugo Hugo Hugo. Mr Dellien has been somewhat of a revelation on the claycourt Challenger circuit in North America in the last month. He has absolutely thrived on the green clay, winning his maiden title in Sarasota, backing up the week after with a semi final in Tallahassee (lost to Rubin), then backed up for a third week in a row to win the Savannah Challenger. This run included wins over Garin, Mmoh, Kozlov, Londero, Bagnis, Bellucci, Choinski, Polmans, Clezar and then Mmoh again. Pretty solid, even when you consider the courts were slightly different to what they will be dealing with in Paris.
Clay is clearly Dellien’s surface of choice. He has played 77 matches in the last 12 months (62-15 record), and 76 of those matches have been on clay. In fact, he has only played 20 matches on hardcourt *in his career*.
Ultimately, he is moving well, his game is exceptionally well suited to clay, and he is able to run all day. When you back Dellien, you know what you are going to get. On clay, that is a very comforting thing.
Considering the overall form of both players, I am pretty comfortable having a bet on Dellien to get the job done here as a slight underdog. I just don’t think I can trust Pavlasek to play at his best today; If he does then all credit to him. At the odds though, I’d rather know what I am in for with a play on Dellien. Passion, grit, desire, whatever you want to call it – Dellien has it.
Hugo won’t lose it, Pavlasek will have to win it.
Conditions:Showers and possible thunderstorms later, top of 23 degrees Celsius
Diatchenko has had a wretched run with injuries throughout her career, and it seems that we may never get to see her have a full run at things without a little bit of luck. In positive news, she has been able to put together a decent enough year of tennis with a 39-19 record, with all bar 3 matches (last week) being played on hardcourt.
I think there is a reason that Diatchenko focuses on hardcourt – it is clear that her style is most suited to the harder, faster surfaces. Her double handed forehand and backhand are both hit with brutal force, and she certainly doesn’t mess around on court. Like a few other players I have opposed lately, I am just not sure that Diatchenko has the temperament and ability to be successful on clay. Her loss last week in straight sets to Sorribes Tormo 1-6 3-6 was particularly worrying.
When making claycourt form comparisons to Diatchenko, any decent form is good form. Her form in Prague was pretty decent, even as a Lucky Loser. Wins that week over Kasatkina and Schmiedlova were particularly impressive. Although losing to Zhang, the match was far far closer than the scoreline suggested. She is solid on both wings, and has the movement to trouble Diatchenko here.
This preview is quite short and sweet, because I really think this match on clay *should* be one way traffic. The surface just simply doesn’t suit Diatchenko from a groundstrokes or movement perspective. The only way this match is close is if Diatchenko finds the lines point after point after point. I like any combination of Paolini to cover the game handicap, win 2-0 or total games to go “under”. For mine, I am settling on the -3.5 game handicap, however I would be happy with any of the three as a play.
TIP: Paolini -3.5 game handicap at $1.80 at TAB (4 units or 4% of bankroll)
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