Steve Darcis vs Rogerio Dutra Silva 21.05.17

BNP Paribas Primrose Bordeaux, Outdoor Clay, ATP World Tour

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Sunday is Finals day and we are going to switch our attention to the Challenger tournament played at the Villa Primrose Club in Bordeaux, France. This tournament has been on the circuit since 2008 and boasts an impressive list of winners; Monfils, Gasquet and Klizan have all lifted the trophy here in the past. Today though, the final will be contested by Steve Darcis and Rogerio Dutra Silva. Silva is the reigning champion here having beaten Bjorn Frantangelo to the title just 12 months ago, and he’ll be hoping he can replicate that success today against the plucky Belgian, Steve Darcis.

So, how did both players reach the Final; Darcis overcame two Frenchman on his route to the Final, Laurent Loki in Round 1 and Maxime Janvier in Round 3, sandwiched in between was a routine straight sets victory against Maximo Gonzalez. It was yesterday’s Semi Final where Darcis first real test of the tournament came, against the in form Arthur De Greef, Darcis lost the first set 5-7, before bouncing back in the second, quickly winning it 6-1, hitting plenty of inspired backhand winners. The last set was a tight affair with both players losing serve twice, it was Darcis however who held his nerve the better in the tiebreak taking it 7-2. Dutra Silva has been in inspired form this week, not dropping a single set. He dispatched Elias Ymer 6-2 6-3 in Round 1, before defeating three Frenchman, De Schepper, Benneteau and Bonzi in the subsequent Rounds to reach today’s Final with (what should be) plenty ‘left in the tank’.

So let’s break down the player stats and see where this match could be won and lost today….

On serve; Darcis has won 65% of his service points this week, holding serve 85% of the time. These numbers are drastically up on his recent clay court mean of 59% points won on serve and 70% hold. So, we know that Darcis has been serving well this week, and he’ll need to keep that level up today, as Silva will put a lot of balls back into play off the return. Dutra Silva has won 67% of his service points this week and has held serve 87% of the time. Like Darcis, these numbers are an improvement on Dutra’s recent clay court mean of 65% points won on serve and an 80% hold. Dutra has the better serve, but like Darcis he will be made to play plenty of balls off the return today, so will need to keep those serving numbers high. 

On return; Darcis has won 46% of his return points this week, winning 43% of break points, with opponents holding serve 60% of the time. His return points won and opponents holding serve numbers this week are up on his recent clay court mean, however more importantly his break points won % of 43% is down from his recent clay court mean of 48%. It is crucial that Darcis improves upon this today, he might not get a whole host of chances off the Dutra serve today so he needs to make them count if/when they do arise.  Dutra Silva has been returning very well this week, his return points won % is 49%, break points won is 52% and opponents holding serve is just 50%, these correlate extremely positively against his recent clay court mean of 44% return points won, 39% break points won and 64% opponents hold. If Dutra keeps these numbers up today, it will be very difficult for Darcis to hold serve, and in the end that pressure may well tell on the Belgian.

Darcis main weapon off the ground today will be that single handed backhand down the line, which served him so well yesterday against De Greef, Dutra however will not come to the net as much, so will not leave himself as exposed to passing shots. Dutra will be more than happy to exchange from the back of the court and i see him as being more reliable in these types of longer rallies. We have actually seen a slightly more aggressive Dutra this week, with him hitting plenty of winners in all of his encounters, which is another real positive for him. In summary, if Dutra is at his best he should replicate his success here 12 months ago, if Darcis is to stand a chance he needs to serve even better than he has this week and continue to take that backhand on at any given opportunity.

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