Well we had Sunday’s spot on again, as Mertens beat Errani comfortably and Derrien fought hard to beat Bagnis.
Today sees us look forward to a couple of first round encounters from the ATP European clay court events happening this week in Barcelona and Budapest.
Balazs vs Berrettini – Budapest ATP
Balzs is playing in his home tournament, however it is a big step up from the ITF and Challenger Tour matches he’s been playing for most of the year. Berrettini is on the verge of the world’s top 100 and has won two qualifying matches here already, including an impressive 6-4 7-5 victory over the promising Swedish youngster Elias Ymer. Both of these players have won a lot of matches in 2018 and both have won a title, Balzs an ITF event in Italy and Berrettini a hard court challenger event in Bergamo, Italy.
I’m expecting Balazs to look to grind away at the back of the court, and counter-punch where he can, especially off the forehand. Berrettini will look to hit a lot of forehands also, and will look to attack at any given opportunity off that wing. Berretini held serve 95% of the time over his two qualifying games, and I expect it to be very difficult for the Hungarian to break him today. Balazs has held serve just 72% of the time on the clay over the past 12 months, and i expect him to get broken with relative ease. Despite a partizan home crowd, I can’t look beyond a Berrettini win, quite possibly in straight sets.
Ivashka vs Simon – Barcelona ATP
This one is a matchup between two players who don’t do things by halves, usually they are either very good or very bad, there’s not much in-between.
Ivashka has played 8 matches on the dirt this season, winning 5 of those. Simon has played 5, winning 3, and most importantly the two he lost were against Gasquet and Khachanov, both of whom are top 40 players having good 2018’s.
Ivashka has a decent serve and forehand, but his backhand can be exploited. He is a reasonable athlete, but can be mentally fragile at times, especially if his serve isn’t firing. Simon has a good all court game, he’s good off both wings, and will certainly be hitting his double handed backhand cross court into the Ivashka backhand corner a lot today. The Frenchman’s serve can be got at, especially his second delivery, and I think the Belarusian will need to look to be aggressive off the return in order to stand a chance of winning today. I do however think Simon is going to be just too consistent off the ground for Ivashka today, i think the Belarusian will not be able to remain patient enough during the longer rallies and will make too many errors. Simon for the victory.
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