ATP Tour: German Tennis Championships Selected Ro32 Matches Preview

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Our tennis writer previews selected matches from the Round of 32 at the German Tennis Championships taking place in Hamburg. 

Dusan Lajovic 1/1 | Fernando Verdasco 15/20
Dusan Lajovic has very quietly gone about accumulating a fairly respectable season thus far. When you take a closer look at his matches you start to realise just how much better it could have been. His start to the season was disappointing. His five-set loss to Diego Schwartzman in the Aussie Open opening round was symptomatic of just how close he has come to having a great season. He would reach the quarterfinals on the clay of Madrid only to lose an extremely tight three-set match to Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson. He then reached the semi-finals in Lyon only to lose yet another tight three-set match to Dominic Thiem. He then lost an epic 5-set Round of 64 match to Alex Zverev at Roland Garros. A recent quarterfinalist in Umag, Lajovic has been a whisker away from really exploding this season and will take some beating this week.

Spanish journeyman Fernando Verdasco has been as indefatigable as ever this season. The diminutive baseliner is coming off a semi-final showing in Bastad, where he narrowly lost to Fabio Fognini. Verdasco was knocked out of Wimbledon at the first time of asking this season. He reached the quarterfinals in the Netherlands but would have no doubt wanted a better grass court showing this year. He had a terrific run to the final 16 at Roland Garros and also reached the final 32 in Madrid. He had an excellent run to the final 16 of the formidable Miami event. He reached a final on the clay courts of Rio, losing to the even more diminutive Diego Schwartzman in the process. An arch-competitor, Verdasco will remain a threat from the back of the court on any surface.

Lajovic leads the head-to-head stats 3-1. This includes victories in their last two matches, the last of which was played in Beijing last year. Perhaps surprisingly, Lajovic also owns the ascendancy on clay, winning their only ever encounter in 2016. 1/1 looks decent for Lajovic in what is sure to be an extremely competitive encounter. 

Marco Cecchinato 21/20 | Gael Monfils 15/20
Italian Marco Cecchinato has to be the surprise package of the ATP season thus far. A controversial figure, Cecchinato’s run to the semi-finals in Paris has been bookended by twin ATP victories on clay this season. He won an event in Budapest prior to that herculean run at Roland Garros. It’s worth noting the calibre of opposition that Cecchinato overcame in Paris. He beat the likes of Carreno-Busta, Goffin and Djokovic before running out of gas against Dominic Thiem. He then surprised once again with an excellent semi-final showing on the grass courts of Eastbourne. He should be in optimum confidence following a victory in last week’s admittedly weak Umag event in Croatia.

Gael Monfils has had yet another season of languid underperformance. His season really started during the South American clay-court stretch. He reached the quarters in Equador before a semi-final showing in Buenos Aires. He also reached the quarters in Rio before a run to the final 32 at Roland Garros. Monfils actually played his best tennis this season on the grass courts. He reached the semi-final of the Antalya Open before a pleasing run to the final 16 at Wimbledon. He pushed the eventual finalist Kevin Anderson to the very brink in that Round of 16 match and the perennial underachiever will be looking to use that result as the springboard to a late-season surge.

This will be the first meeting between the Italian sensation and the French enigma. Current form would seem to suggest that the Italian would be the right approach. And at a better price it would be foolish to bet against the French Open semi-finalist. I wouldn’t get carried away with a straight sets call; Monfils has shown that he has durability if nothing else. 

 Written by Damien Kayat for

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