A dramatic weekend of tennis action saw Juan Monaco overcome a strong American challenge to conquer in Houston, whilst it was plain sailing in Casablanca for Pablo Andujar, who retained his crown with a straight sets victory over Albert Ramos.
Having suggested here on Friday that a likely Isner v Lopez semi-final would be a match to savour for both spectators and tennis traders, the pair didn’t let us down, as they played out a dramatic three setter.
Isner came into the match as the favourite but lost the first set on a tie-break. The big American had already served up a winning comeback earlier in the week and the Final Serve strategy paid dividends for traders again, as Isner bounced back to take the second set in a tie break and went on to win the match in the third.
Both men were strong on serve, and with Isner currently sitting in fourth place in terms of 2012 break points saved, there were plenty of tennis scalping opportunities to be had as the big man found himself break points down, before restabilising parity at deuce.
Sunday’s final saw Argentine, Juan Monaco defeat Isner to take the title. Isner started the match on the back of a 45 service game undefeated streak, so again the scalping opportunities looked good. Isner fought bravely and did comeback to create deuce situations, however Monaco broke twice in the first set and eventually won the match in three sets. Having saved eight of the nine break points he faced, it was actually Monaco who was the man for the Scalpers on Sunday afternoon.
Race Your Profits and Champwinnings also netted a tidy profit for Tennis Traders during semi-finals and Final. A feast of close tennis and countless break point opportunities made these matches some of the best for a while.
Over in Casablanca, Pablo Andujar performed well all week, and managed to successfully defend the title he won a year ago. Andujar came roaring out of the blocks with a 6-1 success in the opening set.
The second set proved to be a lot closer and did result in a tense tie-breaker. Ultimately though, it was Andujar who sneaked over the line, in straight sets.
The Week Ahead
It’s all eyes on Monte Carlo this week as the third Master’s 1000 event of the season gets underway. Rafa Nadal has won here for a staggering seven years in succession, but having lost in the finals of Madrid and Rome to Djokovic last season, the Spaniard will be very wary of the Serbian’s growing momentum on clay.
Djokovic pulled out of this event in 2011, suffering from the effects of an undefeated start to the season. Plenty believed he didn’t fancy the challenge to his run of Rafa on clay, but subsequent events put that one to pay, and although Novak comes into this event as the second favourite, there are plenty who believe the ‘Serbinator’ all but has this one in the bag.
There’s little question that the standout match here would be a final between the top two players in the World. When Novak and Rafa meet you can generally expect both men to fight tooth and nail to hang on to their service games and for either three or five set matches to go the full distance.
For those reasons, a Nadal v Djokovic contest is one to savour for tennis traders, and although it’s only been a couple of months since they contested the Aussie Open final, it feels like we’re now overdue a meeting between the pair.
With Roger Federer missing out, it’s Andy Murray who takes the third seeded position. Murray got to the semis here in 2011 and gave Rafa a real run for his money before eventually succumbing to the Spaniard’s clay court supremacy.
David Ferrer always does well in Monte Carlo and was a defeated finalist here last year. He’s in the same half of the draw as Novak Djokovic, so an appealing quarter-final between the two could be on its way later in the week.
From a tennis trading point of view there should be plenty of big name match-ups to keep your eye on all week. Djokovic will likely have to defeat, Dolgopolov, Ferrer, Murray and Nadal, if he’s going to go all the way, whilst Nadal has mouth watering possibilities ahead with Mayer, Almagro and Tsonga.
Matches for Traders to look out for this week:
Monte Carlo Masters:
Novak Djokovic v Rafa Nadal (Final)
Novak Djokovic v David Ferrer (Quarters)
Rafa Nadal v Jo Wilfried Tsonga (Quarters)
Novak Djokovic v Andy Murray (Semis)