ATP Tour: Dell Tech Hall of Fame Championship RO16 Preview

Tennis Player hits ball

We take a look at selected Round of 16 matches from the Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Championship.

Vasek Pospisil 13/10 | Misha Zverev 11/20 
Misha Zverev clearly lives in the fairly massive shadow of younger brother and supposed future Federer Alex Zverev. This year has generally been a struggle for Zverev as his advancing years seemed to be showing. Up until a month ago, the best he had boasted this season was perhaps a round of 62 showing at a strong Monte Carlo event. He also managed a fairly surprising run to the final 32 at Roland Garros: the clay had hardly ever done him any favours. But that all changed with a remarkable victory at Eastbourne. Clearly, Zverev has the ability to play on clay, though an opening round loss to Herbert at Wimbledon would have disappointed.

28-year-old Canadian Vasek Pospisil hasn’t had the greatest of years. A former World Number 25, Pospisil has largely had to revert to competition on the Challenger Series. Having said that, he did pick up victories in the Rennes and Budapest events on the Challenger Tour. But buried beneath a slew of poor results were some close encounters that indicate his potential. He lost a hard fought four setter to eventual finalist Marin Cilic at the Aussie Open. He would also go down to a tight straight sets defeat to Cilic at the Indian Wells event, where he made it all the way to the Round of 32. But perhaps more importantly, Pospisil’s greatest ever single’s result came on grass. He reached the 2015 quarterfinals at Wimbledon and could offer a surprise this week.

This will be their first head-to-head encounter and thus makes prediction a slightly hazardous art. But giving Pospisil’s historical connection to Wimbledon I believe this is one where a level of risk is warranted. Pospisil at 13/10 doesn’t look too bad to me. 

Adrian Mannarino 7/20 | Jordan Thompson 2/1 
Adrian Mannarino’s reputation as a grass-court specialist was only exacerbated in the last few weeks. Totally atypical for French players, Mannarino prefers an antiquated chip and slice game that doesn’t revolve around merciless groundstrokes. He reached the final 16 of Wimbledon only to lose convincingly to Federer. He also made it to the Antalya Open Final as well as the quarterfinal of Queens. He really needed it because it had kind of been a disastrous season for Mannarino up until this point. Aside from that semi-final run in the New York Open, Mannarino’s season has been negligible. It seems as if players have sussed out his game to some extent.

His opponent is24-year-old Jordan Thompson. The Aussie overcame compatriot Duckworth in the opening round here and will need the performance of a lifetime this week. Thompson has had a really poor year on the tour proper, culminating in an opening round straight sets loss to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon. He has probably been the most consistent player on the Challenger Tour. He won an event in Chennai while he lost finals in Seoul and Kyoto. Add to that three other semi-final appearances and you realise that he seems comfortable at that lower level. He needs to now make that next serious step, and often victory against a much more vaunted opponent can be just the ticket for that progression: just look at Shapovalov’s win over Nadal last year.

Mannarino leads the head-to-head between the two 1-0. That victory came ominously on grass in the Netherlands last season. Mannarino is never the type of player who will dominate an opponent, so perhaps Mannarino to win in three sets at 2/1 is a better bit of value in this match. 

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Written by Damien Kayat for

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