ATP Tour: Open Sud de France - Selected Quarter-Finals Preview

Tennis Player hits ball

Damien Kayat looks at selected quarter-final matches coming your way from the ATP Tour's Open Sud de France this week. 

Tomas Berdych 7/20 | Filip Krajinovic 2/1
The 33-year-old veteran, Tomas Berdych, is hoping to make a huge comeback this season after a dreadful back injury plagued him last year. He was forced to suspend his season in the aftermath of a Wimbledon defeat. He had started the year well, winning the Tie Break tens before losing in the Aussie Open quarter-finals. But signs were poor leading up to Wimbledon, as the Czech lost five in a row post-Miami. The decorated Czech star has had some time off now and looks to have rediscovered his groove. He reached the final 16 in Melbourne, only to lose comprehensively to eventual finalist Rafa Nadal. That came off the back of a final defeat in Doha. So it looks as if Berdych - who has reached the semi-final stage of each Grand Slam - is back to somewhere resembling his best form.

Serbian Filip Krajinovic must possess one of the most idiosyncratic career trajectories of anyone. Languishing in the doldrums for much of his early career, the Serb was thrust into prominence after a logic-defying run at the 2017 Paris Masters. He became the first person since Jerzy Janowicz to reach the final of a Masters 1000 event as a qualifier. So one would have thought that 2018 would provide a platform for him to kick on. He broke into the top 30 following his first ever ATP 500 semi-final in Dubai, but injury scuppered his season, relegating him to only seven events in the first seven months. He returned with little effect towards the end of the year. He has started the season reasonably, reaching the final 32 at Melbourne. 

This will be their first ever meeting, which always makes form treacherous predictions. But I just can’t help but feel that Berdych is the only sensible option here.  His season has started very promisingly and he possesses the undeniable profile of a champion  

Jo Wilfried Tsonga 7/20 | Jeremy Chardy 2/1
Affectionately known as ‘Ali’, due a remarkable resemblance to boxing icon Muhammed Ali, Jo Wilfried Tsonga is a man hoping to bounce back from a disastrous 2018 season. His season was decimated by injury, which actually came to a head in this event last year. He had to pull out of his semi-final with Lucas Pouille and would only return to the game in September. He struggled to make any headway but has started 2019 in much better form. He reached the semi-finals in Brisbane in what was an auspicious start to the campaign. The 16-time ATP winner and five-time Grand Slam semi-finalist was hugely impressive last time out against Gilles Simon. I thought that Simon - enjoying a rich vein of form - would easily dispose of his compatriot. But the pugnacious Tsonga defied my expectations and persevered. Tsonga is a crowd darling and will clearly enjoy the overwhelming majority of support, with his opponent being a fellow Frenchman. 

The 31-year-old journeyman, Jeremy Chardy, found his niche on the tour as a competent professional with more success in the double’s format. He does have an ATP singles title to his name: he claimed the 2009 Stuttgart Open. He has a career high single’s ranking of 25 dating all the way back to January 2013. So, all in all, he doesn’t really stack up too favourably against his opponent. But he is actually coming off the back of a rather successful 2018. Perhaps most surprising were back-to-back fourth-round showings at the ‘Sunshine Double’. He would reach the semi-finals in Istanbul and Queens, whilst going all the way to the final in the Rosmalen event. He - like Tsonga - was a defeated semi-finalist in Brisbane, which could make this encounter all the more fascinating. 

Tsonga leads the head-to-head 3-1, though the last time they played was all the way back in 2014. You have to dig back to 2012 for Chardy’s only victory. But I quite like the journeyman at 2/1. Firstly, he is in decent form after a year of surprise success. But perhaps more telling is Tsonga’s physical state. Could this be a step too far for Tsonga at this stage of the season?  I think it just gives Chardy a decent chance at 2/1.  

Written by Damien Kayat for Hollywoodbets.

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