Basilashvili vs Seppi 23.05.17

Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, Lyon, Clay Courts, ATP

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Today we preview a match between the Georgian world number 71, Nikoloz Basilashivili and the Italian world number 83, Andreas Seppi, played on the clay courts of the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes in Lyon, France. This years tournament has attracted some stellar names; Raonic, Kyrgios, Berdych, Tsonga and Del Potro will all be present using this week as further chance to hone their skills on the dirt before Roland Garros.

But let’s focus on our two pretenders for today,Basilashvili and Seppi. Both won their opening Round matches yesterday; Basilashvili had a great three set win over the talented Croat Borna Coric, taking the deciding set 6-4. Basilashvili hit plenty of winners in a ruthless display and It will be interesting to see if he can keep that level up today. Seppi had a potential ‘banana-skin’ on paper, taking on the Bosnian Damir Dzumhur. Despite losing his serve twice in the opening set, Seppi found a way to take that 7-6. Two breaks of the Dzumhur serve in set 2 was enough for Seppi to win that 6-4 and advance to Round 2.

This is the first meeting between Basilashvili and Seppi, so we have no Head to Head to analyse, so this leads us nicely onto looking at the serve and return numbers for both men…

Let’s start with the serving stats; Basilashvili in his opening Round match won 63% of his service points and held serve 81% of the time. This matches up very well to his recent clay court mean of 55% points won on serve and 61% service hold, especially given that he was playing Coric. If he continues to serve at yesterdays level against Seppi today then the Georgian should win plenty of free points on his serve. Seppi in his opening Round match won 60% of his service points and held serve 73% of the time, these numbers are exactly the same as his recent clay court mean. It will be very interesting to see if Seppi can improve on those numbers if coming under pressure from some aggressive returning from Basilashvili today.

On the return of serve; Basilashvili in his opening Round match won 41% of points on return, took just 29% of his break point opportunities and his opponent held serve 75% of the time. His recently clay court mean looks like this; 40% return points won, 48% break points won and 70% opponents hold. I actually think that he’ll get a few opportunities on Seppi’s serve today, so if he can increase that break points won % to somewhere near his clay court mean then he stands a good chance of gaining a foothold the Italian’s service games. Seppi in his opening Round match won 44% of his return points, took 57% of his break point opportunities and his opponent held serve just 64% of the time, impressive numbers from the Italian. His recent clay court mean numbers are; 36% return points won, 41% break points won and 79% opponents hold. If Seppi returns serve like he did yesterday then Basilashvili will be in for a really tough match, however consistency has always been one of Seppi’s biggest weaknesses, so you just never know with the Italian.

Off the ground Basilashvili will look to be very aggressive and attack at every opportunity, Seppi will look to redirect that pace and make it as awkward as possible for the Georgian. Seppi will find angles and look to manipulate space by moving Basilashvili from side to side on the baseline. My concern over Basilashvili today is this; you have to be very patient against Seppi, wait for your chance and then pull the trigger, i’m not sure Basilashvili has that level of patience in him. Seppi will happily spend all day at the back of the court and wait for Basilashvili to make mistakes, and if he does that well today I feel like it might be enough.

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