Apologies for the radio silence this week, i’ve been busy on some other projects which have taken up a lot of my time. I am however back today with a look at 2 matches which have caught my eye, one from Istanbul and one from Estoril.
Let’s crack straight on with it…
Jaziri vs Vesely – Istanbul ATP
These two have met twice before, both on clay and Vesely has won on both occasions in straight sets. The last of those wins came 3 years ago though in Bucharest, and both of these players are very different beasts now. Jaziri is much improved, and having beaten two top 10 players over the past few weeks (Dimitrov and Cilic) is on a real high and playing with a lot of confidence. Vesely just can’t seem to stay fit, he’s had 2 good wins already here this week, beating Gimeno-Traver and Monteiro, but you can’t help but feel his body is going to let him down at any moment.
I think for the reasons stated above that the H2H can be ignored here, and i really fancy Jaziri to win. He has the better serve, hits the ball aggressively off the ground and will be able to attack Vesely who just tends to push the ball around the court with seemingly no real purpose or attacking intent. Although Jaziri has played plenty of tennis lately, fitness doesn’t appear to be an issue for him, Vesely on the other hand played a long match yesterday against Monteiro and is returning from a series of injuries and niggles, so may well be feeling anything but fresh.
Statistically Jaziri has been the more dominant player over the pairs first 2 matches of this tournament, holding serve 88% of the time versus Vesely’s 73% and winning 51% of his return points to Vesely’s 45%.
All of this adds up to a win for Jaziri in my book here.
Bolelli vs Tiafoe – Estoril ATP
These two have never met before, but are both very proficient clay courters. Bolelli typically competes on the Challenger Tour but has a 14-4 W/L record this year. Tiafoe won two clay Challenger clay court titles last year (Aix en Proence & Sarasota) and has been in solid form this week, defeating Sandgren (saving match points along the way) and Muller in the opening 2 Rounds.
Bolelli has the ability to raise his level against better players, and is solid in all areas of his game, he can however struggle mentally when the going gets tough. Tiafoe hits the ball aggressively off either wing, especially off the forehand side. His serve can be a weapon when firing, but can also be inconsistent and exploitable if he’s not on his A game.
I can’t help feeling that the American’s power off the ground will be enough here, Bolelli should be competitive and 3 sets would not surprise me but Tiafoe is certainly the better player and at his current odds I think represents some good value.