Jarkko Nieminen over Tommy Robredo 6-4, 6-1
I wrestled with the decision over who to pick in this one and fortunately I went with Nieminen. He is generally the better hard-court player of the two, but winning by such a convincing margin is surprising (even though Robredo hasn't exactly been playing well of late, despite what his victory a few weeks ago on clay would suggest). I initially had Nieminen in my top 25 U.S. Open contenders, but dropped him out. If I started over he would be in there. He's just a rock solid player who does nothing out of the ordinary but does everything well.
Andy Roddick over Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (7-3), 6-2
Roddick has now won the last six meetings between these two players. I was at the only one that was really close, last year's five-setter in the third round of the U.S. Open where Verdasco extended Roddick to five sets. The key in this one was Roddick saving both break points he faced in the first set and in the second set the serve - he completely dominated his service games in set two - was all Roddick needed.
Marcos Baghdatis over Andy Murray 6-1, 6-2
Clearly Murray is either still feeling the effects of his wrist injury or he's just rusty from having missed a few months. Whatever the case, there's not much you can take away from this match (unless you watched it) because clearly one of the players was not at full strength. Nonetheless, I like the way Baghdatis has been playing recently and I'm hoping he puts on a good show at the Open, just as he did last year in his one-for-the-ages loss to Agassi.
a few surprises today:
Juan Martin del Potro over Guillermo Canas 6-2, 6-2
Arnaud Clement over Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4, 6-2
What!?!?!? Mathieu has been playing great and now he goes out and gets blown out by a fellow compatriot who has not been doing much at all? Crazy. And del Potro has plenty of talent (I saw him in Miami completely destroy Baghdatis in the third set of their match), but 2 and 2 of Canas is very surprising. Canas BETTER find the form he showed this spring and turn things around in time for the Open.