Lorenzo Giustino vs Andrej Martin 20.05.17

Heilbronner Neckar Cup 2017. Outdoor Clay Courts. ATP Challenger Tour.

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Lorenzo Giustino vs Andrej Martin

Heilbronner Neckar Cup 2017 Quarter Final Match

Heilbronner Challenger 2017


Today’s match preview, again comes from the Challenger Tour and again from the Neckar Cup in Heilbronn, Germany, as we focus on the Quarter Final match up between Italy’s Lorenzo Giustino and Slovakia’s Andrej Martin.
This is the third time these two have met, with both having won a match a piece. It is however their first meeting since 2014, so i’m not sure quite how much we can read into their Head 2 Head record to be honest, at least not as a potential bearing on today’s encounter.
What we do know however is how both of these players have reached the Quarter Finals; Giustino beat American Denis Novikov in straight sets in Round 1, before defeating German youngster Dominik Koepfer in Round 2. Giustino did drop the second set 6-1 in that encounter though, before winning the third by the same scoreline, such fluctuations in concentration are a common site for Giustino fans, so that we will keep an eye on today. Andrej Martin also had a straight sets victory in Round 1, getting past the hard hitting Aussie Sam Groth 6-3 6-3. Round 2 was far more challenging though, with him having to come from a set down to defeat  Alexander Bublik, eventually winning 4-6 6-3 6-3. Bublik used his slice very effectively against Martin throughout the match, and if Giustino can employ a similar strategy today, he may well get some success.
Statistically on serve this week Giustino has won 63% of his points played and held serve 78% of the time. Martin has won 62% of his service points and also held 78% of the time. Giustino has clearly been serving well above his recent mean clay court numbers of 59% points won on serve and 68% of service games won, i expect numbers closer to his mean today, given Martin’s returning ability. Martin himself this week is very slightly above his recent mean clay court level of 61% points won on serve and 77% service hold, so also in strong serving form. Martin is certainly the better server, and expect him to win more points on serve and more service games than Giustino today.
When returning serve this week so far Giustino has won 40% of his return points, 41% of his break points, with his opponents holding serve 70% of the time, these are all below his recent clay court mean of winning 43% of his return points, 43% of his break points and his opponents holding serve 64% of the time. This should worry Giustino fans, as he will need to return well today given the pressure i anticipate him coming under on his serve. No such dramas for Martin in the returning camp this week so far, with the Slovak winning 48% of his return points, 40% of his break points and his opponents holding serve a mere 57% of the time. All of these numbers are big improvements on his recent clay court mean, and is a strong indication that he is seeing the ball well and in a nice rhythm on the return of serve (especially given that one of his matches this week was against the big serving Sam Groth). If Martin continues returning serve in this vein, then i expect it to be a very long afternoon on serve for Giustino.
Giustino will look to counter where possible off the ground but Martin will be dictating the rallies and looking to hit winners wherever possible. I expect Martin to win and advance through to the Semi Finals, with Giustino’s main hope being that he serves at his maximum level and utilises that slice to keep the ball low and keep Martin off balance.

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