Dzumhur vs Kicker 29.05.17

French Open, Roland Garros, France, Clay Courts, ATP

Latest posts by Tennis Purist (see all)

What a great start to the French Open yesterday, and I deem it prudent to do a quick heart-felt mention to Petra Kvitova; what a fantastic achievement for her, not least to be back playing tennis on Tour again, but to win her first match back at a Grand Slam was just a fairy tale moment. I expect many, me included had a tear in their eye, well done Petra and here’s to many more!

Onto today and we continue our analysis of matches in the French Open at Roland Garros, and specifically the match up between the Bosnian world number 96, Damir Dzumhur and the ever-improving, Argentian world number 87, Nicolas Kicker.

This is the first meeting between the pair, but Kicker certainly has the better clay court form in the lead up to this encounter. Both players played in the ATP 250 event in Lyon last week, with Dzumhur bailing out in Round 1 with an extremely limp performance against Andreas Seppi. It is also worth noting that Dzumhur has not won back to back matches on clay all year, so he is by no means brimming with confidence. Kicker on the other hand won two qualifying matches before going on to reach the Quarter Finals, eventually losing to the in form Georgian, Nikoloz Basilashvilli. Prior to this, Kicker had struggled on the clay, with First Round exits in Munich, Rome and a Challenger event in Heibronn, Germany. He did reach the Quarter Final in Rio back in February though, beating clay court specialists, Arthur De Greef and Marco Cecchinato on the way, eventually falling to Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the last eight.

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Onto today and let’s look at both players recent clay court mean serving stats; Dzhumhur has won 57% of his service points and held serve 66% of the time, against the recent clay court Tour mean of 62% service points won and 76% service hold. Dzumhur is really struggling on serve at the moment, he must hold far more often than he has been if he is to stand a chance today. Kicker has won 63% of his service points and held serve 76% of the time. Kicker’s serving numbers are very much in line with the recent clay court Tour mean, and it’s this level of consistency that should stand him in good stead on serve today.

Let’s next look at the return of serve, recent clay court Tour mean numbers look like this; return points won 38%, break points won 41% and opponents hold 76%. Dzhumhur matches up to these with his recent clay court mean numbers of, 39% return points won, 46% break points won and 75% opponents hold. These are an indication that Dumhur has been returning well of late, especially given that they encompass matches against the huge serving Ivo Karlovic and Marin Cilic and the big serving Robin Haase. Onto Kicker and his recent clay court mean numbers look like this; 41% return points won, 54% break points won and 69% opponents hold. Kicker’s break points won % is the standout stat here, given the fragility of the Dzumhur serve, if Kicker can keep this number high today he shouldn’t struggle against the Dzumhur serve. The Argentine should create plenty of break points today, let’s see if he can make them count.

Kicker will look to be the more proactive off the ground, hitting the ball hard and flat off both wings. Dzumhur will be the more patient of the two players, and rely on court craft to force his openings. Dzumhur needs to serve much better today in order to be competitive, if Kicker keeps his level in line with the stats above he will probably have too much for the Bosnian and advance into round 2.

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