Thompson vs Sugita 11.06.17
Aegon Surbiton Trophy, Surbiton, England, Grass Courts, Mens Challenger Tour
It’s our first grass court match preview of the season, and it’s going to be from the first grass court tournament of the season, the Aegon Surbiton Trophy. The tournament started in 1998, before it was replaced in 2009 by the Aegon Trophy in Nottingham. It was however re-instated in 2015, with Matthew Ebden taking the title, and continued last year with Lu Yen Hsun lifting the trophy. This years contenders for the first piece of grass-court silverware of the season are, Austalian world number 92, Jordan Thompson and Japanese wold number 78, Yuichi Sugita.
This is the first time these two have met, so we have no prior head to head record to draw any conclusions from. One thing we do know though is that neither player has dropped a set in their four matches so far this week, and both have looked imperious on serve.
Surbiton Trophy Results So Far…
Thompson kicked off his campaign against Denis Shapovalov, defeating the Canadian 6-3 6-4. Round 2 saw him breeze past the plucky German, Tobias Kamke 6-3 6-2, before beating the huge serving Reilly Opelk in the Quarter Finals 7-5 6-2. The Semi Finals saw the Australian face the enigmatic world number 76, Dustin Brown, with Johnson winning though 6-3 7-5, breaking the German once in each set.
Sugita has also enjoyed a pretty straight forward passage through to the Final. In Round 1 he beat Peter Gojowczyk 6-3 6-2, in Round 2 Kenny De Schepper provided no stiffer resistance, going down 6-3 6-1 and then the Quarter Finals saw him breeze past Dudi Sela 6-3 7-5. The Semi Final looked to be Sugita’s trickiest match so far on paper, as he faced last years runner up here, Marius Copil. The Romanian was no much for Sugita on the day though and the Japenese player won through 7-5 6-4.
NB: Being the first grass court tournament of the season, we have no recent grass court mean serving numbers. Instead we will just concentrate on both players numbers from this tournament so far.
Thompson this week has won 76% of his service points and held serve 98% of the time. The Australian is a huge server, if he can keep these numbers up he should hold serve with relative ease throughout.
Sugit so far this week has won 72% of his service points and held serve 97% of the time. Again, some impressive service numbers, however Sugita’s second serve can be exploitable, so he needs to keep his first serve % high.
NB: Being the first grass court tournament of the season, we have no recent grass court mean returning numbers. Instead we will just concentrate on both players numbers from this tournament so far.
Thompson this week has won 43% of his return points, 52% of his break points and his opponents have held serve 70% of the time. Thompson has returned pretty well this week, and in a match where i’m anticipating few chances to break, he’ll need to keep that break points won % high.
Sugita this week has won 40% of his return points, 60% of his break points and his opponents have held serve just 68% of the time. Sugita will need to find a way to get Thompson’s big second serves into play, if not i just can’t see how he is going to break the Australian’s serve.
Neither player will hit huge off the ground, Thompson will probably play the slightly more attacking, with Sugita looking to counter-punch where possible. Sugita will look to get his forehand in play where possible, and bring Thompson into the net with drop shots.
In a match that should be dominated by the serve and probably by a tiebreak or three, i can’t help feeling like Thompson’s huge serves should cause Sugita plenty of problems today. If the Japenese can find a way to get them back into play, he’s the better player off the ground and stands a chance, however Thompson has been winning over 70% of his second serves this week, so that may well be easier said than done.
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