ATP Tour: Grand Prix Hassan Selected QF Preview

Tennis player stands with racquet in hand

Our tennis writer previews selected quarter-finals from the ATP Tour event taking place in Marrakech, Morocco. 

Kyle Edmund 2/7 vs Malek Jaziri 7/2
This will certainly be the most eagerly anticipated quarterfinal this week, with Malek Jaziri flying the North-African flag high against Aussie Open semi-finalist Kyle Edmund. Jaziri has had a brilliant event thus far, taking down Fucsovics in the opening match before eliminating Mischa Zverev in the Round of 16. Jaziri is your prototypical talented journeyman- ala Marcos Baghdatis. He has the capacity to spring the occasional outlier performance, as he did so brilliantly in Dubai earlier this year. Jaziri picked up the biggest win of his career with an opening round win against Grigor Dimitrov in Dubai, and he got all the way to the semi-finals, only to squander a 4-1 second set lead against Roberto Bautista-Agut. He will be emboldened by what will be a fanatical, quasi-home atmosphere.

Kyle Edmund rose to international prominence with that inconceivable run to the semi-finals of this year’s Australian Open Final. He beat Kevin Anderson, Andreas Seppi and Grigor Dimitrov en route to that semi-final, showing that he certainly has the game to challenge at the top. But in truth, Edmund has barely played any tennis since then due to injury, and the tennis he has played has been poor. He lost to Tiafoe in the Round of 64 in Miami after losing to Dudi Sela in the Round of 64 in Indian Wells. His victories this week against Albot and Vesely hardly give me cause to get too excitable about his chances this week.

Jaziri leads the head-to-head 1-0, though that win came way back on the grass-courts of Nottingham in 2015. I think that Jaziri has a real chance this week, especially giving the exceptionally partisan support he is likely to receive. 7/2 looks extremely appealing for the Tunisian here. 

Richard Gasquet Fra 7/20 vs Gilles Simon 39/20
This is one for all the Francophiles out there. Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon are amongst the most durable players on tour, and both know each other’s game inside and out. Richard Gasquet enjoyed an excellent start to the season, where he lost an exceptionally tight three setter to Roger Federer in the Australian Open. He then went on to make the semi-finals of the Open Sud de France, where he ultimately lost to an inspired Lucas Pouille: he beat the likes of Dzumhar and Goffin en route to that semi-final. Gasquet is a quality competitor who has managed to stay in the upper echelons of men’s tennis for a prolonged period, no doubt aided by the best single backhand in the business.

Gilles Simon pulled off a big shock in the opening round by overcoming yet another compatriot- they are seriously everywhere on this tour- in the form of sixth seed Benoit Paire. The former World Number 6 has certainly degenerated in recent seasons. He has struggled to cut it on Challenger Series events this year, though he did manage to reach the Round of 16 at both the Open 13 and Open Sud de France events in his own country. And perhaps the worst aspect about his prospective quarterfinal is the head-to-head record he carries against Gasquet.

Richard Gasquet leads the head-to-head against Simon 7-0. While that may sound comprehensive- and it is- only one of those victories came over the course of the last five years, with Gasquet winning an extremely compelling three set thriller in Shanghai last year. Having said all that, Gasquet is the only sensible option here. Gasquet’s superior court craft should see him through on these clay surfaces.

Written by Damien Kayat for

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