Saturday, March 14, 2009

Indian Wells: Saturday matches to check out

Today is the day of Australian Open rematches... Okay not really cuz there's only 2 of those but anyways... Here's some matches you should check out today:

Lleyton Hewitt vs Fernando Gonzalez [17]

The last time these two faced off was last January in the Australian Open first round, where Gonzalez beat Hewitt in 5 sets, 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Gonzalez leads their career head-to-head record 4-2, and has won their last 3 encounters.

Hewitt is not having a that bad of a year so far, as he's reached the semis in Memphis, and the quarters in Sydney, but the former world number 1 has slipped to a current 77 in the world and I don't think today's match will be as tight as their Melbourne encounter, because the main reason that match was close was because Gonzalez was facing Hewitt in Australia in front of an incredible home crowd.

So am guessing Gonzalez should have no trouble eliminating Hewitt, assuming he is fully recovered from his injury that forced him to withdraw from the Davis Cup last week. The Chilean could be a little short on match play since this is only his 3rd tournament of the year, but he did reach the Oz Open 4th round (fell to Rafa), and he won the tourney in Vina Del Mar, which means he has a pretty solid 7-1 record for the year.

Ernests Gulbis vs Igor Andreev [22]

Here's another Oz Open rematch between the promising yet constantly disappointing Gulbis and Russia's Igor Andreev. Andreev dismissed Gulbis from the Australian Open second round earlier this year, in 5 sets, 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 6-4, and that was their only previous meeting.

The talented Latvian has not managed to win 2 back-to-back matches from the start of the year, while Andreev's best performance in 2009 came just a few weeks back in Dubai where he reached the quarters before he fell to David Ferrer in straights.

This could be a tight match and it could go Gulbis' way, assuming he doesn't choke like he did in Melbourne.

Ivan Ljubicic vs Mario Ancic [28]

Ljubicic leads his compatriot 4-1 in head-to-head meetings, but I gotta say he's having a lousy year so far and Ancic is actually on the rise.

Ljubicic has crashed out of the first round in his last 3 tournaments and has a 2-5 record this year. Ancic on the other hand, has reached the final in Zagreb, the semis in Rotterdam and the quarters in Sydney, and he played a pivotal role in Croatia's 5-0 whitewash of Chile in the Davis Cup last weekend. Ancic should definitely win this one.

Other seeds playing on Saturday include:

Roger Federer [2] vs Marc Gicquel
Andy Murray [4] vs Albert Montanes
Gilles Simon [8] vs Yen-Hsun Lu
Fernando Verdasco [10] vs Thomaz Bellucci
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga [11] vs Teimuraz Gabashvili
James Blake [13] vs Jarkko Nieminen
Richard Gasquet [23] vs Michael Llodra

For the complete order of play, check here...

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