Ramanathan vs Basghdatis 29.06.17

Antalya Open, Antalya Open, Grass Courts, ATP Tour

It’s Quarter Finals day today at the Antalya Open, Turkey, and we are going to pick the bones out of the match between Dominic Thiem’s victor and Indian world number 222, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Cyrpriut world number 79, Marcos Baghdatis.

Previous Meetings:

This is the first meeting between the pair, which is no real surprise, with Ramanathan traditionally playing on the Challenger Tour, and when fit, Baghdatis on the Main Tour.

This is Ramanathan’s first week on the grass, he did however get through two Rounds of Qaulifying to get here, beating Andrey Yakovlev and Yannick Mertens, both in straight sets. Baghdatis played in Surbiton, losing in the First Round to Dudi Sela, and then went onto Stuttgart in Germany the following week, only to retire injured in set two against Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Antalya Open Results So Far…

Ramanathan faced clay-courter Rogerio Dutra Silva in Round 1, and dispatched him in just over an hour, 6-3 6-4. In Round 2 the Indian produced the largest win of his career, and one of the largest shocks of the tennis year so far, beating world number 8, Dominic Thiem in straight sets 6-3 6-2 in just 61 minutes. Thiem was obviously well below par, but Ramanathan was superb, taking the game to the Austrian at every opportunity and really disrupting his rhythm with a mix of heavy serves and groundies and tricky slice backhand approaches. It’s going to be extremely interesting to see if he can back that win up today against Baghdatis.

Baghdatis beat a very out of sorts Nikoloz Basilashvilli in Round 1, 6-2 6-1 in 50 minutes, and then battled past clay-courter Carlos Berlocq 6-4 3-6 7-5, in a match that lasted nearly two and a half hours. You do just wonder how much that match has taken out of the Cypriot’s fragile body, it will be very interesting to see if he will go the whole match without a medical time out today.

Serving Stats:

Ramanathan’s recent grass court mean serving stats look like this; he’s won 75% of his service points and held serve 100% of the time.

Baghdatis’ recent grass court mean serving stats look like this; he’s won 68% of his service points and held serve 81% of the time.

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Ramanathan has played four matches on grass and is yet to be broken, he does possess a hard and flat first serve, and he will win plenty of free points off this today. Baghdatis has a solid serve, but he will rely on a high first serve % in order to win his points, i think the Cypriot could be vulnerable if he is having to hit too many second serves today.

Returning Stats:

Ramanathan’s recent grass court returning stats look like this, he’s won 46% of his return points, 56% of his break points and opponents have held 58% of the time against him.

Baghdatis’ recent grass court returning stats look like this, he’s won 39% of his return points, 36% of his break points and opponents have held 73% of the time against him.

Both return serve well, Ramanathan tends to go after the return, especially off his forehand side on second serves. Baghdatis tends to like to block the ball back into play, giving his opponents little pace to work with. The Cypriot will need to try and get a read on the Ramanathan serve early today and he’ll also need to drastically increase his break point conversion % in order to stand a chance of breaking.

Groundstrokes:

Ramanathan has a slightly unorthodox and tricky playing style off the ground. He favours his forehand, and will hit it with varying degrees of speed, one moment he’ll be ripping hard flat balls for winners, the next he’ll be playing with heavy topspin with very little pace on the ball. The Indian’s weakness is his backhand, the grass does help him out a bit though, as he does like to slice it and then venture to the net. Baghdatis will certainly be looking to direct a lot of traffic onto that side with his double handed backhand and flat forehand. The Cypriot will attack any short ball, otherwise he’s perfectly comfortable rallying from the back of the court, he’s solid off both wings, but is prone to patches of unforced errors in matches.

Summary:

I think this could a tougher match to call than the bookies are suggesting with their prices. They still make Baghdatis a heavy heavy favourite, which on any other surface i’d agree with, however I think grass is a bit of a leveller here, especially with Ramanathan’s playing style and big serve. If Ramanathan plays like he did against Thiem, I think he actually wins this, especially if Baghdatis is serving a low % of first serves and hitting unforced errors. If Baghdatis however plays his best tennis, you have to favour his court-craft and experience. Should be a great match, and one that i’m certainly really looking forward to.

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