Sugita vs Mannarino 01.07.16
Antalya Open, Antalya Open, Grass Courts, ATP Tour
You may well have noticed that all week i’ve been previewing matches from the Antalya Open, Turkey, being a brand new tournament on the Tour i thought i’d give it plenty of air time. I do however feel like the tournament has been a bit of a damp squid, crowds have been practically non-existent throughout, and with Dominic Thiem being knocked out in Round 1 the general media interest and exposure of the tournament has been minimal. Today however it reaches it’s conclusion, and we are going to be previewing the Final between Japenese world number 66, Yuichi Sugita and French world number 62, Adrian Mannarino.
These two have met twice before with both winning a match each. Mannarino won on the clay of Monte Carlo in April this year 6-3 6-4, but it was the Japenese player who won their only other previous meeting, on the grass courts in Nottingham back in 2012, 6-4 3-6 7-6. There have been lots of breaks of serve in both of these matches, so it will be interesting to see if that trend continues today.
Antalya Open Results So Far…
Sugita defeated a disappointing Matthew Ebden 6-1 6-3 in Round 1, before battling past the tenacious David Ferrer in Round 2, 6-3 3-6 7-6, in a match that lasted over two hours. The Quarter Finals was a far more comfortable affair as Sugita brushed aside German Daniel Altmaier 6-3 6-0 in just fifty minutes. Yesterday’s Semi Final was a tightly contested affair, which unfortunately ended in Sugita’s opponent, Marcos Baghdatis retiring after collapsing from dehydration, with the match poised at a set all and 4-1 to the Japenese player in the third. Temperatures reached 41 degrees on-court yesterday, and we are expecting similar today, so conditions will be playing very fast.
Mannarino beat Borna Coric in Round 1, 7-5 6-4, before defeating Egyptian Mohamed Safwat 6-4 6-4 in the Second Round. In the Quarter Finals, Mannarino faced Fernando Verdasco, and the Frenchman was on the verge of going out at a set and a break down, before some steely determination and a mental implosion from Verdasco allowed him to somehow win through, 2-6 7-5 6-2. The Frenchman then defeated Italian, Andreas Seppi 6-4 6-4 in yesterday’s Semi Final, losing his serve just the once in the match.
Sugita’s serving stats this week look like this; he’s won 71% of his service points and held serve 96% of the time.
Mannarino’s serving stats this week look like this; he’s won 69% of his service points and held serve 92% of the time.
Sugita has two serves that he likes to use, the flat bomb that he likes to hit down the T on the deuce (right hand) side, and out wide on the Ad (left hand) side, and the topspin delivery that he likes to use to kick the ball up high to the returner. The Japenese man has an effective serve on the grass, and his stats for this week back that up. Mannarino tends to hit most of his serves with slice, so they tend to move away from the right-hander on both the Deuce and Ad sides of the court. The Frenchman will use this serve to move Sugita wide of the court, especially on the Ad side, so that he can then finish any short reply into the space.
Sugita’s returning stats this week look like this, he’s won 42% of his return points, 46% of his break points and opponents have held 71% of the time against him.
Mannarino’s returning stats this week look like this, he’s won 38% of his return points, 41% of his break points and opponents have held 76% of the time against him.
Mannarino will look to block the ball back into play off both the forehand the backhand, the only issue with this for the Frenchman is that he often struggles to get much depth off the return, meaning Sugita can easily finish the short ball with his forehand, i feel like this pattern of play is something we might see a lot today. Sugita tends to hit his return of serve more aggressively of both wings, meaning he is able to hit with more depth, if at times with less consistency. The Japanese man still should put plenty of balls back into play though, and if Mannarino’s first serve % isn’t high, he can look to go after the second serve of the Frenchman.
Mannarino will look to push Sugita from side to side off his forehand, hitting it with varying levels of pace in order to unsettle him. He didn’t employ his slice backhand much against Seppi yesterday, instead choosing to drive his flat double-hander more often, i think we might see more of the same today as Mannarino will need try and take time away from Sugita and not let the Japenese man dictate the rallies. Sugita has a whippy topspin forehans that he will look to get into play as much as possible, this is his stronger side and expect to see plenty of winners from this wing today. He will hit his double-handed backhand flat and mostly to the Mannarino forehand, looking to then quickly run around the cross-court reply to hit an aggressive forehand, another pattern of play i’m sure we will see a lot today. Both will spend most of their time at the back of the court, but both are competent volleyers when at the net.
I feel like this is another close one to call, however having watched both men this week and looking at the stats, Sugita looks that little bit stronger on serve and on return, so I feel like we have to side with him to get the win today. I also feel like the quicker conditions will favour Sugita’s more aggressive groundstrokes, especially off his forehand side. If Mannarino serves well though and can keep the ball deep enough off the return and off that Sugita forehand then he stands a chance. Don’t be too surprised if this one goes three sets.
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