Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: ATP Tour: European Open - Round of 32 Preview

ATP Tour: European Open - Round of 32 Preview

ATP Tour: European Open - Round of 32 Preview

We take a look at selected round of 32 matches from the ATP Tour's European Open taking place at Antwerp, Belgium. 

ATP Tour 2019 | ATP 250 Series
European Open | Antwerp, Belgium (Hardcourt)
Selected Round of 32 Matches | 15-16 October 2019

Steve Darcis (26/10)
vs Gilles Simon (1/4)

This match will pit two wily old campaigners against each other in something of a throwback encounter. It would perhaps be slightly unfair to refer to Gilles Simon as a journeyman. The 34-year-old Frenchman has actually reached two Masters 1000 finals in his career. The hardcourt specialist enjoyed a resurgence in 2018, claiming his 13th and 14th ATP Tour titles. But 2019 has been far less kind to the veteran Frenchman. Semi-final runs at Sydney and the Grand Prix Hassan II have been standout hardcourt performances. But he actually found his most consistent success on grass, culminating in a standout run to the final of Queens. But his recent form has been fairly uninspired. He will be hoping to end the year in positive fashion. This week he will come up against a home crowd favourite who will be riding an emotional rollercoaster this week.

This will actually be the first time that 35-year-old Steve Darcis will have actually played in his home country. That really surprised me. Now here is a player who fits more perfectly into the journeyman mould. He actually started the year in pretty solid fashion, reaching the semi-final of the Maharashtra Open. He then enjoyed intermittent success on the Challenger Tour, including a defeat in the Cherbourg Final. But since then it has really been fairly mundane for Darcis. After reaching the second round of Wimbledon it has been a real slog for Darcis. His win-loss record since then has been 1-5. He is actually planning to retire after next year’s Aussie Open, siting elbow pain incurred at this year’s Wimbledon.

This is actually only their second meeting, with Darcis holding the edge. But it’s impossible to sheen any relevance from that considering that was way back in 2007. Clearly Simon goes into this as the overwhelming favourite. Having said that, I expect that Darcis will be hugely motivated playing in front of his home crowd, especially with his career winding down. I think that Simon to win in three at 26/10 is quite an appealing option.  

Frances Tiafoe (13/20)
vs Yannick Maden (12/10)

American Frances Tiafoe has been one of those Next Gen players who has been left behind somewhat of late. The likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Danil Medvedev have really evolved while Tiafoe has stagnated. It’s slightly surprising given the promise he showed last year. He won the Delray Beach Open and reached the final in Estoril. But 2019 has been a very weird year for the big-serving American. It has yet to reach a semi-final the entire year. Having said that, quarter-finals at the Aussie Open and Miami Open reflect his untapped potential. He comes into this event off the back of three straight defeats. That includes back-to-back opening round defeats in Beijing and Shanghai. Those two solid performances in major events mean that Tiafoe is on the verge of qualifying for the season ending Next Gen Finals in Milan.

Yannick Maden is quite an intriguing player. The 29-year-old German only actually made his main draw debut in 2016. Coincidentally enough, that came in the inaugural; staging of this event back in 2016. He has yet to really evolve in a major way on the tour proper. He has become a regular on the Challenger tour, actually compiling a highly respectable season thus far. He has reached three finals this season, all of which came on this surface. So while he hasn’t made that big time breakthrough, he has almost certainly tasted more victories this season than Tiafoe. But can he possibly extend himself this week and scupper Tiafoe’s chances of securing that Race to Milan spot? 

This will be the very first meeting between these two. The only option here has to be a 2-0 victory to Tiafoe. Despite his schizophrenic form, he just has the edge over Yannick Maden in every way. And 31/20 for straight sets seems a decent price. The added motivation for Milan qualification should be enough of a carrot for a comfy Tiafoe win.  

Written by Damien Kayat for Hollywoodbets

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