Delobonis vs Vesely 10.06.17

Czech Open, Prostejov, Czech Republic, Clay Courts, Mens Challenger Tour

It’s Final’s weekend at Roland Garros, and I can’t look past Halep and Nadal to claim the crowns there. We are however going to be concentrating on previewing the Final of Czech Open, the Challenger clay court event being played in Prostejov, Czech Republic this week. Today’s Final will be contested by two left-handers, the Argentine world number 138, Federico Delbonis and the Czech world number 57, Jiri Vesley. Vesely will certainly have the crowd behind him, being his home tournament and he’s also bidding to take the title here for the third time in past four years.

Previous Meetings:

This will be the third time these two have met, with the head to head record standing at one a piece. Vesely has won their only previous match on clay, back in 2013 in Leberec, Czech Republic 6-7 7-6 6-4. It was Delbonis who won their most recent meeting though, back in 2015 on the hard courts of Miami, USA 7-6 3-6 7-5. So, a tight head to head record, with both matches going to three sets suggest that these two are fairly evenly matched. It is however worth noting that Delbonis has struggled with injuries over the past season or two and Vesely has been steadily improving his clay court results.

Czech Open Results So Far…

Delbonis is yet to drop a set this week, he eased past Donskoy in Round 1, 6-3 6-1, before beating the big-serving Nicolas Jarry 6-4 7-5 in Round 2. In the Quarter Final the Argentine faced the Spanish veteran, Tommy Robredo, Delbonis was in fine form (Robredo not so) and comfortably won, 6-3 6-4. In the Semi Finals yesterday he faced the surprise package of the week, Swedish world number 476, Markus Eriksson. Eriksson had knocked out Martin Klizan in Round 2, and knowing that the pressure was off him going into this match, he represented a real potential challenge to Delbonis. Both players exchanged breaks of serve in the opening two games of the match, before holding until game nine, where the Argentine took advantage of some sloppy unforced errors from Eriksson to break again and take the set 7-5. The second set followed a similar pattern, going with serve for most of it, until game eleven, when Delbonis broke, the Argentine then served out the match in just over an hour and a half to take his place in the Final.

Vesely, also yet to drop a set this week played Dmitry Popko in Round 1, and breezed pasty the Kazakh 6-4 6-0. In Round 2 the Czech beat Marcelo Arevalo 6-2 6-4, before Uladzimir Ignatik was dispatched in the Quarter Final, 7-6 6-1. The Semi Final saw Vesely take on the American, Tennys Sandgren, who had been playing very well this week. Sandgren however couldn’t keep up this good form, as he really struggled for consistency against Vesely’s mix of topspin and slice, the Czech won through convincingly, 6-2 6-2 to set up today’s clash.

Serving Stats:

Delbonis this week has won 69% of his service points and held serve 93% of the time. These compare to his recent clay court mean numbers of 69% service points won and 92% service hold. Impressive serving numbers from Delbonis, and if the Argentine can keep these numbers up today, Vesely should strugge to break his serve.

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Vesely so far this week has won 72% of his service points and held serve 94% of the time. These compare to his recent clay court mean numbers of 65% service points won and 83% service hold. Vesely has also served very well this week, and like Delbonis, if he keeps these numbers up today I don’t expect to see him broken much/if at all.

Returning Stats:

Delbonis this week has won 41% of his return points, 46% of his break points and his opponents have held serve 68% of the time. These compare to his recent clay court mean numbers of 37% return points won, 38% break points won and 80% opposition hold. The Argentine will need to improve on these numbers even further today in order to attempt to get a foothold in the Vesely service games.

Vesely this week has won 47% of his return points, 73% of his break points and his opponents have held serve just 54% of the time. These compare to his recent clay court mean numbers of 39% return points won, 49% break points won and 74% opposition hold. What i like about Vesely’s stats here is his high break point conversion %, in a match that could well come down to who takes their chances (which should be few and far between) when they arrive, if Vesely can force just one or two break points, and take them, that may well just be enough today.

Groundstrokes:

Delbonis will hit heavy topspin off both wings, but doesn’t possess huge firepower. Similarly, Vesely doesn’t possess any real weapons off the ground, however he will be consistent and his slice backhand can be very tricky to play against.

Summary:

Vesely will be cheered on by the home crowd and will be looking to win a third title here on a court he loves playing on. In a match that i think will be very serve-dominated, I give Vesely the slight edge, due to his better return game and greater variation on his groundstrokes. Delbonis is 6ft 2in and should struggle with Vesely’s low, short slice off the backhand side. I don’t think Delbonis is without a chance though, and if he can force the sets into tiebreaks, anything can happen.

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