Laura Siegemund was running on absolute fumes yesterday in her match with Schmiedlova. After starting strong, taking the first set 6-4 in just under an hour, Schmiedlova started to turn the tables on Siegemund, who took a medical timeout for a hip complaint, also seemed to be struggling with her lower back, and reported to her coach that her arms were feeling “heavy”. To be honest, I cannot blame her, when you consider it was her 7th match in 8 days, and she is still adjusting back to the tour after her 10 month layoff due to a knee reconstruction. Schmiedlova grabbed the second set, and took all the momentum with an early break in the third set, before the rain set in and caused the match to be suspended. It was just what the doctor ordered of Siegemund, who ended up snatching the third set 6-2 and progressing to the next round. Looking at the serve stats in set 2, and it is clear that Siegemund was struggling a bit with her arms – her first serve percentage increased to 72%, and her first serve points won % dropped to 58, indicative of taking a bit off her first serve to get it in play to conserve a bit of energy.
We know what Siegemund is capable of on clay, as before her injury last year she rocketing up the Roland Garros outright betting table. Alas, it has been a slow and steady approach for her on her return, as she has gone 11-8 across all tours since she made her return. When you make a list and analyse all the players she has beaten since her return (Vikhlyantseva, Strycova, Bogdan, Chiesa, Pieri, Kostova, Muchova, Witthoeft, Zaja, Paolini and Schmiedlova), outside of perhaps Strycova on her day there isn’t anyone on this list that comes close to Martic in terms of form. The losses have been up and down as well, with losses since her return coming against Danilovic, Trevisan, Vandeweghe, Vesnina, Mertens, Vandeweghe again, Deichmann and Osaka.
Petra Martic hasn’t quite reached the heights of her 2017 form, however she is still a very talented player on clay, especially when given time on the ball, which she should receive today. Although she had led Liu 4-0 in the 3rd set yesterday, she did find herself at *4-4 15/40, before finding a way to flip the script and take the third set 6-4. It backed up what was a very impressive first round performance, where she defeated Sramkova whilst only dropping 6 games (and 10 points on serve). Whilst her 2018 clay form isn’t as great, her losses have come against players either very proficient on clay, or in incredible form at the time (eg Wang at Roland Garros).
Considering how Martic has played through the first two rounds, and the struggles Siegemund faced against Schmiedlova given the volume of tennis she has played over the last 10 days on the comeback trail, I heavily favour Martic to get the job done here. The longer this match goes (uninterrupted that is), the more I have it favouring Martic.
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