Match Preview Berankis vs Albot 22.03 Miami Open 2018
Miami, USA, Hard Courts, ATP
I hope you all managed to head my advice yesterday, as the big Jarry serve and forehand was too much for Brit Cameron Norrie.
Today sees us preview another Round 1 match from the Miami Open, between Lithuanian world number 103, Ricardas Berankis and Moldovan world number 93, Radu Albot.
These two have met once before on a hard court, back in 2016 in Israel, with Berankis coming through comfortably 6-3 6-3.
Berankis has played a lot of tennis this year, and has been performing very nicely, winning 15 out of his 25 matches, all on hard courts. He also reached the Final of an indoor challenger event in Rennes, where he lost heavily to Vasek Pospisil. He has already played two matches here in Miami this week, beating Gombos and Stakhovsky in qualifying for the main draw.
Albot by contrast has only won 4 matches this year, he has lost his last 5 winning just 2 sets in the process. It’s safe to say that he is a man low on confidence, however if he can muster up some of the form that saw him beat John Isner in New York last month then that could really kick-start his season.
Berankis’ Recent Hard Court Mean Serving Stats
Won 61% of his service points
Held serve 73% of the time
Berankis has an average serve, he relies on placement rather than power but will make a high % of first serves (66% against a Tour average of 60%). He will be consistent without being spectacular on serve and will look to dictate off the first ball (the return).
Albot’s Recent Hard Court Mean Serving Stats
Won 58% of his service points
Held serve 70% of the time
Albot, also has a ‘functional’ serve, he also relies on getting a large % of first serves in, as his second serve is very exploitable. He will need to keep his first serve numbers high today in order to prevent him from being broken numerous times.
Berankis’ Recent Hard Court Mean Returning Stats
Won 42% of his return points
Won 56% of his break points
Opponents have held 66% of the time against him
Berankis has an extremely strong return game, not only does he have the ability to put the ball back into play, but he does so with interest. He will look to push the ball deep into the corners or to the feet of Albot, especially off the Moldovan’s second serve. I think Berankis ability to dominate off the return could be a huge deciding factor today, especially if the Albot serve is struggling as much as it has in recent weeks.
Albot’s Recent Hard Court Mean Returning Stats
Won 32% of his return points
Won 33% of his break points
Opponents have held 85% of the time against him
Albot has been really struggling off the return lately, these numbers are slightly skewed bearing in mind he’s faced Isner, Anderson and Donaldson, all of whom are big servers. If we look back over the past 12 months, his return points won % on hard courts is slightly above average at 40% (average is 38%), and he’ll need to get back to these sort of numbers if he is to make an impact today, especially with the expectation that his serve is going to be put under pressure right from the off.
Berankis, although not blessed with huge power will be looking to be the more aggressive of the two players. He will predominantly stay at the back of the court, working an opening for himself to put away. He will come to the net given the opportunity, and is a competent vollyer. He is solid off both wings, and unless he’s having a real off day, don’t expect too many unforced errors, especially given Albot’s lack of firepower.
Albot will look to be consistent from the baseline, and will predominantly rely on Berankis making mistakes rather than hitting outright winners himself. I just can’t see this being a tactic that will work against a player with such a consistent game as the Lithuanian. I feel like Albot will have to be more aggressive off the ground today to stand any chance, this will take him out of his comfort zone but will ultimately decide his fate.
As you can probably guess, I’m backing Berankis to take this. He’s got a better serve, better return, a more consistent and varied game from the back of the court and is in better form. If Albot is playing close to his best and Berankis has a meltdown then he stands a chance, but i’m siding with Berankis with confidence.
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