Cecchinato vs Rublev 15.06.17
Ciiti Di Caltanissetta, Caltanissetta, Italy, Clay Courts, Mens Challenger Tour
Today we switch out attentions to the clay courts of Ciiti Di Caltanissetta in Caltanissetta, Italy, as we preview a men’s Challenger Tour Second Round matchup between Italian world number 97, Marco Cecchinato and Russian world number 107, Andrey Rublev. This tournament has been on the men’s Challenger Tour since 2009, and is often favoured by players who prefer to lengthen their clay court swing and miss the first week of the grass court season. Being one of the richest of the Challenger Tour events on the circuit, it also often attracts some fairly well known names too, previous winners have included Robin Haase, Tommy Robredo, Pablo Carreno Busta and last year’s winner Paolo Lorenzi. The Italian, Lorenzi is here to defend his title this week, and he defeated Laslo Djere last night in three sets.
Onto today’s encounter…
These two have met once before, on the clay courts of Rome, Italy back in 2015. On that occasion it was Cecchinato who came out on top, winning 6-1 6-4. The Italian has been on good form on the clay this season, winning a Challenger in Rome just last month, and having not last back to back matches since February he comes here in confident mood. Rublev on the other hand has struggled for consistency, winning 5 and losing 7 of his 12 clay court matches this season.
Ciiti Di Caltanissetta Results So Far…
Cecchinato beat Jordi Samper-Montana in Round 1, having dropped the first set 4-6, the Italian rallied to take the next two 7-5 6-1.
Rublev defeated Milijan Zekic in straight sets in Round 1, 6-3 6-4 in just under an hour and a half.
Cecchinato in his opening match won 65% of his service points and held serve 80% of the time. These compare to his recent clay court mean numbers of 62% service points won and 77% service hold.
Rublev in his opening match won 61% of his service points and held serve 78% of the time. These compare to his recent clay court mean numbers of 62% service points won and 77% service hold.
Both players are very equally matched on serve, and with both looking to be aggressive off the return they will need to keep their serving numbers high today. Rublev will need to be very careful he is not just rolling his second serve in, as that can sometimes be a real weakness of the Russians’.
Cecchinato in his opening match won 45% of his return points, 50% of his break point chances and his opponent held serve 64% of the time. These compare to his recent clay court mean numbers of 42% return points won, 48% break points won and 65% opponent hold.
Rublev in his opening match won 53% of his return points, 63% of his break point chances and his opponent held serve 50% of the time. These compare to his recent clay court mean numbers of 40% return points won, 44% break points won and 75% opponent hold.
Both players return very aggressively, and both will be looking to jump on anything short. Cecchinato is the more consistent of the two on return, but with Rublev able hit a host of flashy return winners at any time I do think that there will be a few breaks of serve today.
Both players love to attack, especially off the forehand side, Cecchinato however is the better defender of the two, so expect him to put more balls back into play. Rublev will have moments where he is hitting winners off both wings from anywhere, and equally will have moments where he can’t find the court. The Italian is more measured and consistent with his groundstrokes, but will also look to dictate play off the forehand side.
This could well be a close match, and if both players apply their A-games this could be a very entertaining watch. I do have to side with Cecchniato and his greater consistency to prevail though, I just think he’s a better match player than Rublev, and with the home crowd behind him i think he stands a good chance. As for Rublev, he’s most certainly not without a shot here, if he starts flashing a few winners on the big points then he can most certainly win this, it’s how often he is able to do this that concerns me though.
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