Daniil Medvedev – Nicolas Jarry
This is an interesting first match of the day with Nicolas Jarry facing Daniil Medvedev after two upsets wins over Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev. In both upsets, Jarry came back twice after losing the first set. He has an opportunity to win four straight since Sao Paulo last year. However, you could say Jarry has been somewhat lucky this tournament and needed some help. In his win over Zverev, Zverev had a meltdown with 9 double faults during the last two sets. Also, it’s worth noting he only converted one break point vs. Dimitrov and played 23 games over the final two sets to get the win.
On the other side, Daniil Medvedev is coming off a straight sets win over Mackenzie McDonald that took only 17 games to decide. In the victory, Medvedev converted on five of his 14 break points. Medvedev has now won four of his five sets this tournament and with 10 breaks in the process. In contrast to Jarry, Medvedev has a chance to win three matches for the fourth time in his last seven tournaments and a chance to build on his outstanding performances on clay this year. Outside of his epic first set collapse versus Lajovic, he has been returning the ball great as of late. Expect him to be a little sharper than Jarry today.
Medvedev 2-0 @ 1.72
Roberto Carballes Baena – Kei Nishikori
Another match which features a lucky loser who lost their qualifying match versus a former champion from 2014 and 2015. Roberto Carballes Baena has had a nice run this tournament and is expected to break into the top 100 after this week? But can he get an upset win over Nishikori, who has had a resurgence coming off of injury? This match should be an intriguing one after he just defeated Cristian Garin, another clay court specialist who had won seven straight matches
Although Carballes Baena is in his home country playing on his favorite surface, he will have to defeat the man who has two titles and one runner-up finish at this tournament. Nishikori has also started the week beating Taylor Fritz in straight sets, and Canadian up and comer, Felix Auger Aliassime in blowout fashion 6-1, 6-3. However, Nishikori has still looked vulnerable despite the strong performances, he slipped into a 4-1 deficit vs. Fritz but fought back after an injury suffered by Fritz towards the end of the opening set. Although it’s great to see Nishikori back in form, I am not going to get on board just yet.
Over 20.5 games at 1.8
Rafael Nadal – Jan-Lennard Struff
After defeating fellow countryman David Ferrer, Nadal now must play Jan-Lennard Struff who is probably playing his best tennis of the year so far. Struff has been very good on the baseline this week that could put a bit of pressure on Nadal. Nadal has not looked as sharp as normal in recent weeks but now has the luxury of playing someone who has never faced him before
Although Struff has been impressive he did lose his serve a couple of times against Tsitsipas through unforced errors and probably won more so because of Tsitsipas losing than him winning. Such inconsistency will not work against Rafa. Even one service game lost could be the end for Struff. Although I would caution betting big on Nadal, I simply can’t trust Struff enough here.
Nadal 2-0 at 1.25
Dominic Thiem – Guido Pella
The final match of the day is probably the most exciting. Two clay courters in Dominic Thiem and Guido Pella meet for the 5th time after each has two wins against each other already. Thiem has won the past two meetings last year, one at the Australian Open (3-0 win) and the other in Buenos Arias on clay (2-0 win). Both players are in great form and it could be a tough one for Thiem despite his recent run of success.
Pella is not someone I would underestimate on clay. After all, he played Nadal very tough last week and no doubt has the ability to upset to Thiem. I expect Pella to push Thiem harder than any of his opponents have in this tournament thus far. He is winning at around 70% of first serve points so far this tournament, slightly better than Thiem. I think there is some value in Pella today. Despite the two losses to Thiem, both have featured competitive sets
Pella +4.5 games @ 1.61