There were a handful of notable results on Tuesday. In yesterday’s previewed match, Dominic Thiem came from 5-2 down in the deciding set and saved a match point to defeat Marcel Granollers and advance into the third round of the bet-at-home Open (what a name) in Hamburg. Another promising up-and-comer, Alexander Zverev enjoyed his first ATP main draw win with a thumping 6-0 6-2 victory over Robin Haase. I watched Zverev’s match with Lukas Rosol in Stuttgart and was very impressed with the German player’s game. He will play Mikhail Youzhny on Wednesday as second round action wraps up in Hamburg…
1. Fernando Verdasco v Dustin Brown (ATP Hamburg, R2)
Fernando Verdasco and Dustin Brown will play each other for the first time in Hamburg’s most appetising match of the day on Wednesday. Brown exacted revenge on Pablo Carreno Busta in a thoroughly entertaining first round match. Carreno Busta had beaten Brown in the first round of Bastad last week, 6-3 6-4. Brown played a tremendous match on Monday to turn the tables with a 7-6(5) 6-3 victory. I’ve written before about how much fun Dustin is to watch. His serve-and-volley, ultra-aggressive game is very easy on the eye when he is playing well.
Verdasco is playing his first match of the week after receiving a bye into the second round. He reached the semi-finals of Bastad last week, beating two Spaniards before falling to the eventual champion, Pablo Cuevas. Verdasco’s highlights of the year have all come on clay; he won his sixth career title in Houston beating Nicolas Almagro in the final and reached the last 16 of Roland Garros where he put up a great fight against Andy Murray in a high quality match. Brown’s capable of pretty much anything on the court. He does seem to raise his level in front of a home crowd. Verdasco though, is a stronger and more reliable competitor compared to Brown’s first round opponent, Carreno Busta. I think this match will go three sets and Verdasco will be the player to prevail.
Prediction: Verdasco d. Brown in 3 sets
2. Klara Koukalova v Kristina Mladenovic (WTA Istanbul, R2)
Istanbul’s crowds have been embarrassingly poor this week. After three successful years of hosting the Year-Ending-Championships, the International event has struggled to attract crowds in an impressive, but dwarfing stadium that accentuates the fact NO-ONE IS THERE. The first four of the second round matches will take place on Wednesday. The first of those will see the number three seed, Klara Koukalova (who I still keep writing Zakopalova) take on Kristina Mladenovic. Koukalova has had an excellent year, playing practically every week and winning an impressive amount of matches. Koukalova has won 26 singles matches and is scheduled to play four more tournaments before the US Open as she tries to confirm a seeding at the final Slam of the year where she has NEVER win a singles match.
After looking miserable as sin and like she would rather be anywhere else but on a tennis court, Koukalova knuckled down well to beat Donna Vekic in the first round. It was a characteristically odd WTA match with plenty of twists and turns in momentum, but the higher ranked player prevailed, 4-6 6-0 6-4. Mladenovic won her first match of the week against Patricia Mayr-Achleitner, 6-4 6-2. Mladenovic has proven herself has a tremendous doubles player, already winning nine WTA doubles titles. She possesses talent, but hasn’t translated that it into her singles game yet. She has won just six main draw matches all year although has bagged two top ten wins, both coming on home soil over Simona Halep (Paris Indoors) and Li Na (Roland Garros). Right now, Koukalova is the much tougher competitor and despite looking distinctly unimpressed and uninterested playing tennis, she’s doing a pretty good job of it this year.
Prediction: Koukalova d. Mladenovic in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)
ATP Hamburg 2nd Round Predictions
Andreas Seppi d. Juan Monaco in 2 tight sets
Thomaz Bellucci d. Pablo Andujar in 3 sets
Alexandr Dolgopolov d. Jerzy Janowicz in 2 tight sets
Federico Delbonis d. Tobias Kamke in 2 sets
Mikhail Youzhny d. Alexander Zverev in 3 sets
Philipp Kohlschreiber d. Gastao Elias in 2 sets
Gilles Simon d. Martin Klizan in 3 sets
Joao Sousa d. Lukas Rosol in 3 sets
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez d. Leonardo Mayer in 3 sets
Dusan Lajovic d. Carlos Berlocq in 3 sets
Fabio Fognini d. Filip Krajinovic in 2 sets
WTA Bastad 2nd Round Predictions
Lara Arruabarrena d. Annika Beck in 3 sets
Dinah Pfizenmaier d. Yulia Putintseva in 3 sets
Anett Kontaveit d. Jana Cepelova in 2 tight sets
WTA Istanbul 2nd Round Predictions
Francesca Schiavone d. Bojana Jovanovski in 2 tight sets
Elina Svitolina d. Stefanie Voegele in 3 sets