Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: ATP Tour: Moselle Open Preview

ATP Tour: Moselle Open Preview

Tennis Player hits ball

Our tennis expert previews selected round of 16 and 32 matches coming your way from the Moselle Open.

ATP Tour 2019 | ATP 250 Series | Moselle Open 
Arenes de Metz, Metz, France (Indoor Hardcourt)
Selected Round of 32 and 16 Matches | 17-18 September 2019

Round of 32 Match - 17th September

Pablo Andujar 7/2
vs Jo Wilfried Tsonga 2/11

The ever-popular Jo Wilfried Tsonga has generally endured a frustrating campaign. He hasn’t really looked completely fit in the latter part of the season, despite winning a poor Cassies Open event last week. He started the season in the sort of form that has seen the pugnacious Frenchman remain a fixture in the men’s game. He reached the semi-finals in Brisbane and would claim the Open sud de France title. It just undercuts how brilliantly he tends to play in his home country: he has won this event on three occasions, last tasting victory in 2015. But after a semi-final in the Grand Prix Hassan II, Tsonga’s form has dipped dramatically. He endured a dreadful North American hardcourt swing, culminating in a 1st round loss at Flushing Meadows. The 34-year-old will need to draw on his considerable experience if he wishes to taste further success here. 

Of similar vintage, 33-year-old Pablo Andujar has actually enjoyed something of a mini-renaissance this season. Perhaps more than any other player currently on tour, the Spaniard has been decimated by injury throughout his career. The four-time ATP title winner is nominally a clay-court specialist, as highlighted by nine finals on the surface. But a year-to-date win-loss record of 32-16 indicates broader improvement. He augmented his clay-court reputation with a semi-final in Gstaad and yet another final appearance in Marrakech. But it was his performance at Flushing Meadows that will give Tsonga some pause for concern. He managed an excellent run to the final 16, especially impressive when you consider Tsonga’s recent struggles. Andujar could be a strong sleeper bet against a potentially beleaguered former three-time champion. 

This will be their 3rd ever meeting, with Tsonga leading the head-to-head 2-0. Having said that, their last meeting came way back in 2015, and this will be their first encounter on indoor hardcourt. Clearly, Tsonga will be the overwhelming favourite. I just have a feeling that the injury free Andujar could be a dangerous underdog here. While a three-set win for Tsonga may be sensible, there’s enough evidence to suggest Andujar could upset the partisan crowd. 

Round of 16 Match - 18th September

Fernando Verdasco 9/10
vs Filip Krajinovic 17/20

You have got to hand it to 35-year-old Fernando Verdasco- he just keeps ongoing. The phenomenally experienced Spaniard is a seven-time winner on tour, showing proficiency on all surfaces. He is still best remembered for that absolutely epic five-set semi-final against Rafa Nadal in the 2009 Aussie Open. I am still struggling to rationalise Verdasco’s number five seeding. He’s enjoyed a fairly non-descript campaign, highlighted by a quarterfinal appearance in the prestigious Rome event. Further quarterfinals at Eastbourne and the Sofia Open hardly seem to justify such a lofty ranking. But one still cannot deny his pure ball-striking ability. He dismissed Steve Darcis in the opening round with disdain. The veteran will be hoping for a strong late-season surge in what could potentially be his final season on tour. 

Serbian Filip Krajinovic has really struggled to recreate the form that saw him make that unheralded run to the final of the Paris Masters in 2017. In many ways, I see him as a slightly inferior version of Grigor Dimitrov- when the Bulgarian is in top form. He has shown signs of improvement this season, with a final in the Hungarian Open a particular highlight. He reached the 3rd round at both the Aussie Open and French Open. He also found a little bit of that Masters 1000 magic with a run to the final 16 at Indian Wells. So it has been a slightly indifferent year for the Serb. But his emphatic straight-sets victory over the resolute Peter Gojowczyk in the opening round was an ominous sign. Gojowczyk has enjoyed some solid hardcourt success this year and would have fancied his chances against Krajinovic. 

I was fairly surprised to discover that this will be the first meeting between these two. Considering just how many events Verdasco generally plays, one would have thought the two would have met by now. I really have a feeling that Filip Krajinovic is the man to beat here. His straight-sets victory over Gojowczyk underlined his massive hardcourt potential. Perhaps there’s value in a Krajinovic straight sets victory. 

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