Match Preview Mmoh Vs Santillan 18.07 Newport 2017

Hall of Fame Open, Newport, USA, Grass Courts, ATP

Today sees us preview another Round 1 match from the grass courts of the Hall of Fame Open, USA, this one between American world number 173, Michael Mmoh and Japanese world number 171, Akira Santillan.

Previous Meetings

This is the pairs first meeting, however both have played plenty some grass court tennis already this season.

Mmoh has struggled on the grass so far this year, he faced big-serving American, Reilly Opelka at Nottingham last month and lost 7-6 6-4, before falling at the first hurdle in Wimbledon qualifying, 6-3 7-5 to Tennys Sandgren.

Santillan has only won one of his five matches on grass so far this season and that came at Surbiton where he defeated Stefan Kozlov in three sets, he was then subsequently knocked out by Brit Dan Evans in the next Round. The Japenese player then suffered defeats to Segiy Stakhovsky in Nottingham, Julien Benneteau at Queen’s and Denis Kudla in the First Round of Wimbledon qualifying.

It’s fair to say that both players prefer hard courts to the grass, however i watched most of Santillan’s matches above, and he actually played pretty well in patches and was unlucky to lose so convincingly, against three grass court ‘specialists’ (Stakhovsky, Benneteau and Kudla).

Mmoh’s Recent Grass Court Mean Serving Stats

Won 67% of his service points

Held serve 86% of the time

Mmoh has a solid serve, he will usually look to hit his first serve hard and flat or slice it out to the right handers forehand. He will tend to hit his second serve with topspin and rely on depth and placement in order to win points off this delivery.

Santillan’s Recent Grass Court Mean Serving Stats

Won 68% of his service points

Held serve 84% of the time

Santillan, like Mmoh has a good solid serve, he will hit his first serve with more spin than the American, but will also hit with plenty of pace and placement. He also tends to hit his second serve with accurate topspin and I expect the Japenese player to shade the ace count today.

Mmoh’s Recent Grass Court Mean Returning Stats

Won 33% of his return points

Won 27% of his break points

Opponents have held 82% of the time against him

Mmoh has a decent forehand return, however he struggles on the backhand side. He has a very compact swing/push on his backhand, so he struggles to return serves with enough depth to hurt his opponents, timing the ball consistently on the grass with this technique will be very difficult for the American today especially if Santillan is serving well.

Santillan’s Recent Grass Court Mean Returning Stats

Won 34% of his return points

Won 35% of his break points

Opponents have held 84% of the time against him

Santillan mixes up his returns, he will at times take full swings and at others look to block the ball back into play off both wings. He is better at keeping the ball deep off the return than Mmoh, especially off the backhand side. He also has a far better break point conversion % than the American, and in a match where i don’t expect there to be an abundance of break point opportunities, this could be key.

Mmoh’s Groundstrokes

Mmoh will look to get his forehand into play as much as possible, this is the wing with which he will look to dictate from the back of the court and be the source of most of his winners today. As mentioned previously, his backhand is a compact and pushy stroke which means he often struggles to attack and defend off this side, this will be vulnerable today if Santillan decides to direct a lot of his traffic to that side, watch out for this.

Santillan’s Groundstrokes

Santillan also prefers his forehand as his more attacking wing, however he has a developing backhand that he uses to good effect for both attacking and defending, he can hit over it to hit winners and/or slice it to defend and make life difficult for his opponents, especially on a low-bouncing skiddy grass court. Expect the Japenese player to be more consistent and probably hit a few more winners off the ground today. Santillan will also venture to the net pretty frequently, especially after playing some deep slice to the Mmoh backhand side, he is a solid volleyer and i expect to see this pattern of play a fair bit today.

Summary

I’m expecting Santillan to win, i think his slightly better return of serve and groundstroke consistency, which should be a bit too much for Mmoh to handle on the grass. I don’t feel like the American will be able to get his forehand into play enough and he won’t be consistent enough in defending off his backhand side.Three sets wouldn’t be a total shock, not would plenty of holds of serve.

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