ATP Tour: BB&T Atlanta Open Selected Ro32 Matches Preview

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Damien Kayat takes a look at the ATP Atlanta event taking place this week with a preview of selected Round of 32 matches.



Tim Smyczek 12/10 | Mischa Zverev 13/20
I have to say I was fairly pleased with myself for picking the Pospisil upset in Newport last week. But I do believe that Misha Zverev’s success in the Eastbourne event was something of an anomaly in his season thus far. He started the year in awful fashion, losing five consecutive matches after the Sydney Invitational. He had a decent run to the final 16 in Monte Carlo but otherwise disappointed on the clay-court stretch. His grass-court season never promised much following an opening round loss in Halle. But things took a twist for the unexpected with a glorious romp towards the Eastbourne title. He then went on to lose his opening round matches in both the Wimbledon and Newport event. The accomplished serve and volley technician has generally had a poor season and perhaps its best to not fixate on that triumph in England.

Tim Smyczek is yet another in a plethora of current American journeyman that adorn the ATP Tour. He joins the likes of Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson in that 30-something American category. He will be hoping to draw on the positive juju that Americans seem to bring to this event. Seven of the last eight champions here have been American. The owner of seven Challenger Titles has really had a nothing year up until last week. Seriously, reaching the final 64 in the Aussie Open had probably been the highlight of his year. But a brilliant run to the semi-finals in Newport last week underlined the tendency of the marginal American players to elevate their game in front of adoring home support.

This will be the first meeting of these thirty-year-olds, further helping my theory that the American could prevail here. Aside from that Eastbourne victory, Zverev has really had a dismal season. Smyczek is running hot after Newport and will no doubt enjoy fanatical home support. Smyczek to win at 12/10. 

Cameron Norrie 6/10 | Malek Jaziri 12/10
Alongside Kyle Edmund, Cameron Norrie represents the new face of British tennis in an age of Murray malady. His story is a bizarre one. Born in South Africa, he represented New Zealand before switching allegiance to Great Britain in 2013. I suppose that’s fairly emblematic of the modern sportsman. Norrie’s year started fairly ignominiously, with a quarterfinal in a Challenger event in Noumen the best his early season had to offer. But things have turned around somewhat in recent weeks. The big turning point came with that semi-final run in Lyon. That included a victory over Wimbledon semi-finalist John Isner. He then reached the quarterfinals of Eastbourne and has looked a far better player in the last month.

34-year-old Malek Jaziri has probably enjoyed the best season of his career thus far. In the same flamboyant mode of one Marcos Baghdatis, Jaziri looks to exploit the weaknesses of higher ranked players in these smaller events. His year really took off with a supreme run to the semi-finals in Dubai. During that event he beat top seed Grigor Dimitrov with his eccentric brand of attacking tennis. He then reached the final 16 in Barcelona before another brilliant event in Istanbul. He lost in the final but notably took down Aussie Open finalist Marin Cilic in the process. He has lost some impetus during the grass-court stint and will relish the return to the harder courts.

This will be the first meeting between this pair. As I stated earlier, Jaziri seems to bring the best out of himself when playing the elite players. So perhaps Norrie won’t quite ignite his sense for the occasion. But 12/10 looks far more enticing for Jaziri in this match. Norrie’s recent renaissance hasn’t quite convinced me that he should be the favourite. Jaziri has shown his capacity to take down big names and is certainly my pick for this one.

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Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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