Sugita vs Ebden 26.06.17
Antalya Open, Antalya Open, Grass Courts, ATP Tour
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Today sees the first matches ever played at the Antalya Open, a brand new ATP 250 tournament from on the grass courts of Antalya in Turkey. The tournament has managed to get a few stellar names on its books as well, with the likes of Dominic Thiem, Karen Khachanov, Hyeon Chung and Fernando Verdasco all using this week as further preparation for for Wimbledon. The tournament has been substantially supported by the Lawn Tennis Club, who have helped the organisers to construct the grass court surface so that it practically mirrors that which the players will play on at Wimbledon. There is also over $439,000 worth of prize money on offer this week. So here’s hoping that it’s a cracking week over in Turkey, and let’s hope that the Antalya Open that will become a regular fixture in the ATP grass court schedule. Today we are going to be previewing a match between two of the less ‘household names’ playing here this week, Japanse world number 66, Yuichi Sugita and Australian world number 271, Matthew Ebden.
These two have met seven times previously, with Ebden leading the head to head 5-2. All of their matches have been on hard courts, with Sugita winning their most recent encounter 7-6 6-3, in September 2016 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Both have played a few matches on grass already this season, with Sugita lifting the title in Surbiton earlier this month, beating Jordan Thompson 7-6 7-6 in the Final. The Japanese man then lost in the First Round in Hertogenbosch to Janko Tipsarevic, before losing to Federer in the First Round in Halle last week. Ebden lost in the opening Rounds at both Surbiton and Ilkley, but has won through two Rounds of qualifying to reach the main draw here.
Sugita’s recent grass court mean serving stats look like this; he’s won 63% of his service points and held serve 80% of the time.
Ebden’s recent grass court mean serving stats look like this; he’s won 71% of his service points and held serve 88% of the time.
Sugita’s serve is not the largest, and he relies heavily on a strong first serve % in order to win points consistently on it. Ebden on the other hand has a strong serve, and will certainly be ahead on the ace count by the end today. The Aussie is not broken often on grass, and expect that to be the case again today.
Sugita’s recent grass court returning stats look like this, he’s won 40% of his return points, 50% of his break points and opponents have held 70% of the time against him.
Ebden’s recent grass court returning stats look like this, he’s won 39% of his return points, 52% of his break points and opponents have held 75% of the time against him.
Ebden also leads the stats for the return of serve, both players will look to get the ball back into play off the return, with Ebden looking to be the more aggressive with his forehand return off the second serve. Sugita will need to take any chance(s) he gets today, so will need his break point conversion % to be well over 60-70% in order to make Ebden’s life difficult on serve.
Both player’s will look to predominantly play from the baseline, Sugita will look to manoeuvre his opponent around the court before counter-punching into the space created. Ebden can use the slice on his backhand to good effect on the grass, and will use his forehand aggressively at any given opportunity. The Aussie will venture to the net on the odd occasion, and is an assured volleyer when there. Sugita is the better defender of the two players, and i imagine he he will find himself doing this a lot today.
Despite the bookies making Sugita the favourite, all the stats point to an Ebden win. The Aussie has also played two qualifying matches here already, and leads the head to head convincingly. I feel like Ebden’s big serve and forehand could well make the difference today, unless Sugita can serve 75%+ first serves, and find a way to return the Aussie’s first serve with consistency.
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