Almost halfway through Roland Garros and the drama continues! Andy Murray did his usual party-trick of getting injured before deciding to play his best tennis. It's not the first time he's done this (in fact at The French Open last year, he did the exact same thing when he injured his leg yet came from behind to beat Michael Berrer) which begs the question: why does he wait until he's injured to play his most solid, aggressive tennis? Time and time again, he shows that he has a big enough game to over-power most players but only ever brings out this side when in dire trouble or against the top 3. He'd surely make these early rounds a lot easier for himself (and in turn, the latter stages) if he blew the likes of Jarko Nieminen away in straight sets, instead of wasting time and energy playing defensive tennis and having to come from behind.
And then we had a mini-marathon for John Isner again, only this time, he came out on the losing end of a 5 set, 18-16 match against Paul-Henri Mathieu. The match lasted 5 hours and 41 minutes but despite his previous 11 hour Wimbledon experience, it was Isner who suffered the most from exhaustion as the Frenchman went through. Both matches produced great drama and excitement in what is fast becoming a vintage French Open already.
I dipped my toe tentatively into the Murray game but felt it best to get out and stay out in the end. I wasn't brave enough to lay Nieminen at sub-1.10, as the game in all honesty looked over, with Murray limping around, barely able to serve. Even the ITV commentators and Murray's own entourage were begging him to retire and save himself from the madness of wrecking his back further! Comical stuff in hindsight, though it has to be said, Nieminen should have walked the second set and I'm certain Murray would never have got back into it. Instead, the Fin did exactly what Berrer did in 2011 - shot himself in the foot. Both completely dominated until Murray was injured, then didn't know how to react when he changed gameplan and started swinging for the lines. Nieminen was clearly expecting the hand-shake at any moment and when it didn't come, he lost the plot.
This sort of thing happens more frequently than you might think. I remember getting stung by Janko Tipsarevic last year in the final of Delray Beach. Juan Martin Del Potro (still lacking matches on his comeback after injury) almost completely stopped chasing after any balls that weren't within arms length and concentrated solely on his service games. Tipsarevic was playing well until fatigue got the better of the Argentinian. At that point, the Serb completely lost all sense of awareness. He was no longer the under-dog and the pressure got to him, as he started playing terribly. This combined with Del Potro now concentrating harder on his serve and not giving anything away, eventually wrestled the title away from Tipsarevic's grasp.
I also remember Fabio Fognini coming from behind to beat Albert Montanes at the French Open last year. Fognini was on his last legs with cramp, so started swinging on every ball. He was hitting winners left, right and centre, barely moving, just stand and deliver stuff. Montanes didn't have a clue what to do and threw a game away that he was winning comfortably. Fortunately for me, I learnt from the Delray Beach final and when I saw what was happening, got on Fognini at great value. I know from bitter experience that many traders will have got burnt by backing Nieminen at low odds today and it just goes to show, yet again, that it's just not worth it in the long run. I'm not saying lay at every opportunity but sometimes, it's just better not to get involved. And it's that sort of attitude which has enabled me to have a fourth consecutive winning month and again, smash my previous profit record from April:
So what next for June? Well, after Roland Garros it's the start of the month long grass court season. I have decided I want to play it safe and not up my stakes till after Wimbledon. That's purely because grass is a whole new ball-game and the markets as well the actual matches, are slightly different (particularly for the men) and so I want to make sure that my strategy holds up well with the changes. If I continue with my consistency I've shown this year, then in July, it will be time to take things to another level.........