Darcis vs Verdasco 27.06.17

Antalya Open, Antalya Open, Grass Courts, ATP Tour

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Today sees us preview our match from the grass courts of the Antalya Open, Antalya, Turkey. All eyes will be on Dominic Thiem, as he starts his campaign against Ramkumar Ramanathan, however we are going to be focusing on one of the earlier Round 2 matches taking place between Belgian world number 59, Steve Darcis and Spanish wolrd number 35, Fernando Verdasco.

Previous Meetings:

These two have met twice before, on the clay in 2012, Verdasco won both matches without dropping a set. The first of those encounters was in Barcelona, with the Spaniard winning 6-3 6-1, and just a month later he followed that up by winning 6-3 6-2 7-6 at the French Open.

As far as grass court tennis this season is concerned, Darcis has played three matches this year; Hertogenbosch where he lost to Alexandr Dolgopolov in Round 1, last week at Queen’s where he lost to Berdych in Round 1 and a tight three set win in the First Round here against Denis Istomin. Verdasco has just played once on grass so far, losing to Kei Nishikori in three sets last week in Halle, a match you could argue he should have won.

Given that Verdasco has only played one match on the grass this year, we are going to analyse both players all-time mean grass court serving and returning stats.

Serving Stats:

Darcis’ all-time grass court mean serving stats look like this; he’s won 66% of his service points and held serve 83% of the time.

Verdasco’s all-time grass court mean serving stats look like this; he’s won 68% of his service points and held serve 87% of the time.

Both serve well on the grass, with Verdasco’s lefty slice being especially difficult for the right-hander to deal with. Darcis will need to keep his first serve % high today, if he is to stop his second serve being attacked. Verdasco should certainly be leading the ace count come the end of the match today, with the Spaniard winning plenty of free points, especially off his first serve.

Returning Stats:

Darcis’ all-time grass court returning stats look like this, he’s won 35% of his return points, 37% of his break points and opponents have held 83% of the time against him.

Verdasco’s all-time grass court returning stats look like this, he’s won 35% of his return points, 38% of his break points and opponents have held 82% of the time against him.

Both are pretty even as far as stats on the return of serve goes, however Verdasco’s slice serve into the backhand and the body of the Belgian certainly shouldn’t allow him to return serve easily today. Verdasco on the other hand will take big cuts at the ball off the second serve return, especially off the forehand side. We might not see too many breaks of breaks of serve today, but those we do see I anticipate belonging mostly to the Spaniard.


Both will play from the back of the court, with Darcis looking to soak up Verdasco’s pace and counter-punch off both wings. Darcis also has a reasonable slice backhand, and using this frequently could well be a good play against Verdasco, who doesn’t always play the low short ball well. Verdasco will hit the ball hard on both sides, and will look to get his big forehand into play whenever possible, expect plenty of flashy winners from the Spaniard, as well as some moments where he makes clusters of unforced errors.


I fancy Verdasco to come through, and quite possibly in straight sets. I think he has the more firepower off the ground, will win more free points on his serve and that high-quality encounter with Kei Nishikori last week should stand him in good stead to do well today. Darcis best hope is to serve a high % of first serves and get that slice backhand into play as often as he can. If Verdasco is having an off day and is firing out unforced errors for fun then of course the Belgian then stands a chance, however on the Spaniard’s favourite surface, I suggest that’s unlikely.

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