ATP Tour: Winston-Salem Open- Selected Ro32 Fixtures Preview

Tennis Player hits ball

Here's our preview for selected Round of 32 matches from the ATP Tour's Winston-Salem Open taking place at Wake Forest University. 

Danil Medvedev 17/20 | Alex De Minaur 9/10
19-year-old Alex De Minaur is one of the most exciting talents emerging on the ATP Tour at present. A former World Number 2 at Junior level, De Minaur actually lost the 2016 Wimbledon Junior Final to Denis Shapovalov. He started the year in blistering form, reaching the final of the Sydney International to underline his potential on this surface. He then ground out disappointing results for much of the early part of the season- aside from reaching that final in the Alicante Challenger event. But things seem to have turned around in the wake of a poor clay-court campaign. He reached the final of the Surbiton Trophy before winning the Challenger event in Nottingham. That paved the way for a Round of 32 showing at Wimbledon. He was sensational in Washington, losing in the final to top seed Alex Zverev. He beat the likes of Johnson, Chung and Rublev in what was possibly his most impressive display on tour thus far.

Medvedev’s humbling defeat at the hands of Coric in Cincinnati was just another in a series of quite disappointing results for the promising Russian. That being said, he did alright to reach the final 16 in Canada, though he was absolutely crushed by Zverev there. Round of 32 showings at premier events like Wimbledon and Indian Wells do show that he has the game to mix it in bigger events. His best events this year did come on the harder surfaces in the earlier part of the season. He brilliantly won in Sydney before reaching the quarterfinals in Rotterdam.

Danil Medvedev leads the head-to-head 1-0, with that victory coming in the Sydney final at the beginning of the year. I don’t think that result will be the greatest barometer for this encounter. De Minaur has gone from strength to strength this season while the Russian Medvedev has been in a state of utter limbo. De Minaur to win this one seems the only sensible option. 

Albert Ramos-Vinolas 11/20 | Roberto Carballes Baena 27/20
It’s not exactly easy to announce yourself on the Spanish tennis circuit, what with Rafa Nadal lurking with omnipotent power. The likes of Carreno Busta and Bautista Agut have made great strides yet still fail to capture the imagination in the same way Rafa does. 25-year-old Roberton Carballes Baena is no exception to that rule. Perhaps not surprisingly, his favourite surface is clay. He actually reached his career high ranking of 72 in February following a sensational first ATP victory in Ecuador. Outside of that event, this season has really been a grind for the Spaniard. He reached the semi-finals in a Challenger event in Alicante but has really struggled to be a consistent threat on the tour proper. He almost toppled the emerging Stefanos Tsitsipas in a quarter-final in Estoril, highlighting his preference for clay. His form of late has been poor and one suspects this will be a tough assignment for him.

That’s not to say that 13th seed Ramos-Vinolas is entering this event in terrific form. He is actually on a run of four consecutive defeats as he too struggles to adjust to the harder, faster surfaces.  Generally speaking, however, his year has had more success than his compatriot. A losing finalist in Ecuador, Vinolas boasts third Round runs at both the Aussie Open and Roland Garros. He also reached the final 16 in Madrid and Barcelona. The 30-year-old journeyman has consistently struggled to make the jump that Carreno Busta so adeptly managed in last year’s US Open.

Their head-to-head stats actually make for fairly intriguing reading. They have met three times- all of those matches taking place on clay. Ramos-Vinolas leads the head-to-head 2-1, though their last meeting ended in a Baena victory in February. Having said that, you have to fancy the much higher ranked Ramos-Vinolas on this more alien surface, even with a disagreeable price of 11/20. 

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Written by Damien Kayat for

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