Rotterdam (Quarter-Finals): Friday, February 24, 2006
Olivier Rochus +107 over Jarkko Nieminen ($1500 to win $1605)
This is by far my largest wager of the week and I am not backing down no matter how many Oli haters I run into from now until match time. Both players have been admirably good on the indoor hardcourt surface, Rochus going 12-4 over the last 12 months and Jarkko going 9-4 over the same period of time. When you look at both their lifetime record, Rochus has the obvious edge having won almost 10% advantage winnine percentage wise on the indoor hardcourts. Both players have enjoyed success in Rotterdam the times they have played here but I very strongly expect Rochus to come out on top in this one. What makes this even more difficults is that both players have outstanding Tie Break records on this surface over the last 12 months and should any of the sets go to a breaker...it could swing either way. Olivier Rochus is one of the only players on tour who can handle Jarkko on this surface. In fact, Olivier Rochus is 7-1 lifetime versus left handed players when playing on the indoor hardcourt surface in both ATP and Challenger events.
His only loss came against Rafa earlier this year and even then, Rafa is Rafa and Rochus managed to win a set of the outstanding young Spaniard. During that streak of matches, Rochus has beat Jarkko twice, he has beat Greg Rusedski in a tough quarter-final and he beat Feliciano Lopez last year in Marseille. So far this tournament it looks like Rochus is only getting stronger by the match as he was very impressive in sending David Ferrer packing with nothing more than a few games won and a very short match. Not to take anything away from Jarkko who is coming off big wins as well but Ancic was most obviously not in the best of shapes and Simon almost stunned Jarkko early. Like I mentioned before, the difference in this matchup is going to be Rochus' ability to frustrate Jarkko's style on this surface and although I see this going three sets, the like annoying kid from Belgium is going to kick some ass. OLI OLI OLI!