ATP Tour: St Petersburg Open Ro32 Preview

Tennis Player hits ball

We take a look at selected Round of 32 matches from the St Petersburg Open taking place at the Silbur Area.

Jan Lennard Struff 11/10 | Andrey Rublev 7/10
German Jan Lennard Struff is coming off a decent Third Round showing at the US Open that came hot off the heels of a Round of 16 showing at the Winston Salem Open. Before that he had lost a Challenger final in Germany. Generally speaking, his year has been fairly negligible. He did reach the Third Round of Wimbledon but you have to go back much earlier in the year to find his best results. He reached the quarter-finals of the Bavarian International and the Hungarian Open. Struff clearly is a player still searching for that significant breakthrough that will catapult him further into the limelight.

Andrey Rublev has enjoyed a bizarre year in many ways, not truly fulfilling the mammoth potential that saw him emerge towards the end of last year- most notably at the inaugural NextGen Finals. He started the year with a decent Aussie Open, reaching the Third Round. He then had decent hardcourt success with quarter-final appearances at both the Open Sud de France and Rotterdam events. It really took some time for Rublev to pick up any momentum this year. He then managed a semi-final run in the Washington Open that reminded all of his potential. But after that, he would go on to lose four consecutive matches, including an opening-round loss to Chardy at Flushing Meadows. Rublev clearly is exceptionally talented, but one wonders whether he has what it takes to make that step up into Zverev and Thiem territory.

This will be the third time that these two have met, with them sharing a win apiece. Struff won a 2016 French Open qualifier against Rublev while the Russian returned the favour at a Challenger event in Irving last year. I have a feeling that the Russian has to be the smarter bet here. He reached the final in Qatar earlier this year and just has more tools at his disposal than the German. 

Danil Medvedev 11/20 | Joao Sousa 14/10
Portuguese tennis ace Joao Sousa has enjoyed an extremely variable year on tour. He picked up some impressive results on hardcourts near the beginning of the year, notably beating Alex Zverev at Indian Wells. He also had a serviceable run to the final 16 in Miami, which included a win over David Goffin. He then reached the semi-finals of the Grand Prix Hassan II. He would go on to win the Estoril Open before reaching the quarter-finals of the Antalya Open. Then things seemed to change. Sousa lost six matches in succession leading up to Flushing Meadows. And then he went on to confound us further by reaching the final 16 of the year’s final Grand Slam, with eventual champion Novak Djokovic accounting for his demise. Sousa is a 2015 finalist in this event and remains a fairly unpredictable figure.

Danil Medvedev is another in the vanguard of the Russian tennis youth movement. The20-year-oldd had enjoyed a moderate year up until a few weeks ago. His victory in the Winston-Salem event catapulted him up the rankings in a serious way. But there certainly had been signs of the breakthrough to come. He reached the quarter-final in Rotterdam before reaching the final 32 in Indian Wells. He reached the final 16 in Queens before a Third Round showing at Wimbledon. He then reached the final 16 in Canada, once again showing a burgeoning acumen for the harder courts. All three of his career finals have taken place on hard surfaces.

Jousa actually leads their head-to-head 1-0, although that came on the clay of Estoril this year- an event which Sousa would ultimately go on to win. I have to say that Medvedev looks set to dominate this encounter. Outside of the US Open, Sousa’s form on the hardcourts has been shocking in the latter half of the year. The energetic Russian is riding a wave and looks a decent bet to win in straight sets at 13/10. 

Written by Damien Kayat for

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