Well we were spot on yesterday in our assessment that Tatjana Maria was good value at her starting price, and that her court craft could be too much for her opponent. The German won in straight sets, and I hope you made plenty of profit with that.
Today we focus on a match between the young pretender, Nicola Kuhn and the wily veteran, Marcel Granollers. These two will face off in the opening round of the Challenger Tour tournament in Barletta, Italy.
This is the pairs first meeting, however both are well versed on clay.
Kuhn hasn’t played on the dirt in 2018, but was prolific on it last year and has actually won 12 of his last 14 matches on this surface.
Granollers is something of a clay court ‘specialist’, and spends as much time as possible playing tournaments on the European clay. He reached the Quarter Finals in Alicante last week, losing to eventual runner-up Alex De Minaur.
Kuhn’s Past 12 Months Clay Court Mean Serving Stats
Won 63% of his service points
Held serve 77% of the time
Kuhn has a good serve, it is however an area where he can improve, as it can at times be a little erratic. Generally speaking however he will win plenty of points behind both his first and second serve, and will look to move up onto the baseline to hit aggressive ground strokes off the return ball.
Granollers’ Past 12 Months Clay Court Mean Serving Stats
Won 64% of his service points
Held serve 80% of the time
The Spaniard, like Kuhn has a good serve, without being spectacular. Expect consistent placement over raw power off the Granollers serve today.
Kuhn’s Past 12 Months Clay Court Mean Return Stats
Won 43% of his return points
Won 42% of his break points
Opponents have held 70% of the time against him
Kuhn has a really sharp eye off the return, he will look to take the ball on and be aggressive, especially off the forehand wing. Anything short he will look to hit for a winner, so Granollers will need to look to use the second serve ‘kicker’ a lot today.
Granollers’ Past 12 Months Clay Court Mean Return Stats
Won 39% of his return points
Won 37% of his break points
Opponents have held 77% of the time against him
Granollers will return with consistency, but won’t be anywhere near as aggressive as Kuhn. He will at times block the ball back into play also, which i think plays into Kuhn’s hands today. He will need to up his return points won % today though if he is going to win this.
Kuhn is extremely aggressive off the ground off both sides. He will look to dictate from the back of the court and will hit winners with ease, especially off his massive forehand. He is equally adept at smashing his double-handed backhand cross court for winners also.
The Spaniard will grind from the back of the court, he will chase balls down for fun and keep the ball in play and look to wear his opponent down. I feel like he will have to be more aggressive today though in order to stand a chance.
I was very surprised to see Kuhn’s odds here, I fancy his aggressive style to be enough to win this. I think he will dictate most of the points and will be able to break the Granollers serve often enough today.