In the first round of both Cagliari and Marbella there were many unexpected results, which sadly ruined our accumulators. We had 4 losses (Pella, Daniel, Coria, Travaglia) and 4 wins (Djere, Delbonis, Mager, Cecchinato). We look for some success in the second round, as the top 4 seeds in each event begin their campaigns.
Fritz to beat Martin 4/7 (Cagliari)
Fritz has been playing some of his best tennis this year, and the powerful American’s game lends itself well to the clay. He has made numerous improvements to his game in the last few years, notably his solidity from the back of the court and his footwork, two qualities which are vital for success on this surface. Whilst clay is Martin’s preferred surface, his results have been mixed, with most of his wins coming on the Challenger Tour. Even if Fritz plays poorly, his huge serve should see him over the line and into the quarter finals.
Cecchinato to beat Hanfmann 1/1 (Cagliari)
Both of these players secured important wins in the first round, as neither player has enjoyed much success on the ATP Tour this year. Cecchinato, in his home country, is the better clay court player of the two, and will nullify the Hanfmann serve by standing further back and shortening his swings. Furthermore, he will hurt the flat-hitting Hanfmann by using angles, and won’t allow Hanfmann to simply sit back and defend by hitting drop shots. In addition to this, Cecchinato’s heavy cross-court forehands into Hanfmann’s weaker side should be a successful pattern of play for the Italian.
Alcaraz to beat Lopez 3/10 (Marbella)
In a battle of the youngest Spaniard on tour versus the oldest, the surface greatly favours Alcaraz on this occasion. He overcame the in-form Milojevic in straight sets in the first round, and will make too many returns for Lopez, and will get chances to break more often than he will get broken. His movement and fitness is also far superior to the veteran Lopez.
Basilashvili to beat Kovalik 8/11 (Cagliari)
After suffering from an awful period of form on the ATP Tour, Basilashvili got some great wins (notably Fritz, Bautista Agut and Federer) on his way to the Doha title. He proved that he still has extremely high quality, and the power to hit through anyone even on a clay court. Kovalik enjoys playing on clay, but plays mainly on the Challenger Tour, with limited success on the ATP Tour. The Georgian will have too much for him here and should reach the quarter finals.
Four fold: 6.06/1
Value single: Broady to beat Struff 7/4 (Cagliari)
The Brit has enjoyed a lot of success this year on the Challenger Tour, reaching finals in Potchefstroom and Biella. This form has transferred onto the ATP Tour, with him qualifying for Miami and losing in 3 sets to Kecmanovic in R1, and qualifying here in Cagliari and dispatching Huesler 6-1 6-3 in R1. Struff meanwhile, has been in patchy form, which could frankly be said of his entire career. He was forced to save 5 match points in his opener against Joao Sousa, who is very out of form himself. Struff has a big game, but the clay will give Broady time to give the erratic German those extra few balls and put him under pressure, giving him a great chance of advancing here.