Pouille vs Ramos 02.06.17
French Open, Roland Garros, France, Clay Courts, ATP
Today sees us at Round 3 of the men’s draw at French Open, Roland Garros. We will get our first good look at world number 17 and home favourite, Lucas Pouille and the Spanish world number 20, Albert Ramos.
These two have met three times previously, with Ramos winning twice, both times on clay. Their most recent meeting was in April this year in the Semi Finals of Monte Carlo, where Ramos won 3-6 7-5 6-1. In an entertaining match, Pouille executed plenty of exciting winners, especially off the forehand side, however it was Ramos’ consistency from the back of the court that ended up being the difference on the day. Can the Spaniard repeat those heroics today against another partisan French crowd..
Both players have played well to reach Round 3 this week; Pouille battled past Julien Benneteau in Round 1, having won the first set he then proceeded to drop the next two, eventually winning the decider 6-4. In Round 2, the Frenchman breezed past the dangerous Thomaz Bellucci in straight sets, 7-6 6-1 6-2, Pouille needed that, as the Benneteau marathon would have taken plenty out of him physically and mentally. Ramos beat the qualifier, Marius Copil in Round 1, the Spaniard dropped the first set but then won three on the bounce to record what was a pretty comfortable victory in the end, 6-7 6-1 6-4 6-2. In Round 2, he breezed past Benjamin Bonzi in straight sets, 6-2 6-1 6-1 in under 90 minutes. So both players are nicely ‘played in’ and i’m expecting a high quality encounter today..
Let’s now take a look at both players serving stats, starting with Pouille; this week the Frenchman has won 68% of his service points and held serve 87% of the time. This compares to his recent clay court mean numbers of 65% service points won and 83% service hold. Ramos, this week has won 72% of his service points and held serve 93% of the time. This compares to his recent clay court mean numbers of 61% service points won and 75% service hold. So, both players have been serving well this week, with Ramos’ numbers being heavily skewed having faced two poor returners. Pouille has the more powerful of the two serves, however Ramos serve is an under-rated weapon on this surface, and Pouille struggled against it at times in their last meeting. This is certainly something to watch for today.
Onto the return of serve, this week Pouille has won 36% of his return points, 45% of his break points and opponents have held 77% of the time against him. This compares to his recent clay court mean of 40% return points won, 44% break points won and opponents hold % of 71%. I can’t help feeling like Pouille is going to need a jump on these numbers today in order to compete long-term on the Ramos serve. Onto Ramos now, and his stats for this week look like this, 49% return points won, 42% break points won and 53% opponents hold. These compare to his recent clay court mean numbers of, 42% return points won, 44% break points won and 67% opponents hold. Ramos is the better returner of the two, and if he keeps these number high today he can take advantage of any slip in Pouille’s level on serve.
Off the ground we know what to expect, Pouille will look to dictate and hit winners off both wings, Ramos will look to rally from the back off the court and attack when he has manipulated some space. If Pouille serves well and is picking the returns on the Ramos serve, then he most certainly can win this, especially with the French crowd behind him. The key to Ramos success will be that return of serve, if he can start gaining an early foothold in the Pouille service games then his consistency from the back of the court over the best of five sets may well see him through. This match could be a long affair, and could well go the distance.
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