Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: ATP Tour 2020: Qatar Open Preview

ATP Tour 2020: Qatar Open Preview

ATP Tour 2020: Qatar Open Preview - Round of 16/32

We take a look at selected round of 16 and round of 32 matches from the ATP Tour's Qatar Open taking place at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Centre. 


ATP Tour 2020 | ATP 250 Series
Qatar Open | Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Centre (Outdoor Hardcourt)
Round of 16 and 32 Matches | Tue-Wed 7th/8th January

Pierre Hugues Herbert (5/10) 
vs Marco Cecchinato (14/10)
This is a match between two players who struggled to find consistent form last year. In the case of Frenchman Pierre Hugues Herbert, one has to take into consideration his gargantuan achievements in doubles. He completed the Grand Slam in doubles last year alongside partner Nicholas Mahut. He also went on to win the ATP Finals alongside Mahut. He had a few notable results on the singles tour last season. Semi-final appearances in Halle and Hungary were preceded by a lost final at the Open Sud de France. He has some hard-court pedigree, with all three of his ATP finals coming on hard-courts. Those include finals at the Winston-Salem Open and Shenzhen Open. But his 2019 singles campaign did end in fairly abject manner. He actually lost eleven first-round matches throughout 2019.

Marco Cecchinato’s response to eleven opening round defeats: ‘those are rookie numbers”.  Cecchinato endured no fewer than eighteen opening round defeats in an abysmal 2019 season. His semi-final showing at Roland Garros in 2018 has the appearances of the greatest swindle in recent history. He is yet to win another Grand Slam match in any Grand Slam event. The Italian is a stereotypical clay-court specialist.  All of his ATP finals have come on clay courts. That actually includes a victory in last year’s Argentina Open. The 27-year-old needs to improve upon his all-court game in order to keep up with the likes of fellow countryman Matteo Berrettini.

So this will hardly be a clash between two blistering, in-form players. The Frenchman holds a slender advantage at 1-0. I think that a straight-sets victory for the Frenchman could represent reasonable value here. Berrettini seems to almost be an exclusive clay-court player. The Frenchman to win in straight sets at 13/10.  

Fernando Verdasco (1/1)
vs Filip Krajinovic (4/5)

36-year-old Fernando Verdasco has shown admirable grit and determination to still be operating at this level. Never possessing the weapons that the likes of Federer and Nadal possess, the eight-time ATP winner has nonetheless carved out a comfy niche for himself in the game. The 2009 Aussie Open semi-finalist is competitive on all surfaces and has the type of game that can defy flimsy indicators such as form. Clearly, he is in a dwindling period. 2019 wasn’t a stellar season, with a vague scattering of quarterfinal appearances the best he had to show. But as I said, Verdasco has the capacity to perform at an extremely high level at any moment. He picked up an impressive straight-sets victory over Pablo Andujar in the opening round here. This may prove to be Verdasco’s final year on tour and I expect him to give it everything at every single moment. 

Serbian Filip Krajinovic has battled to live up to his dramatic breakout performance from 2017. He reached the Paris Masters final in spectacular fashion, seemingly heralding the arrival of a great new talent. He has even been compared to Andre Agassi, with that double-handed backhand and mobility.  But the Serbian battled to follow that up with anything of substance in 2018. But 2019 proved to be a far more productive year for the nominal hard-court specialist. He perhaps benefitted from lower expectations. He lost ATP finals in both the Hungarian and Stockholm Open. Krajinovic also overcame a tricky opening round fixture against Brit Kyle Edmund. I suspect that this is going to an extremely crucial year in the career of the Serb. 

This will only be the 2nd time that these two would have met. Krajinovic won their only encounter on the indoor hard-courts of Metz. It was a gruelling three-set match. I just have a hunch that Verdasco may be great value here. It’s early in the season and the vagaries of age could be pushed to one side for now. He is traditionally very strong during the opening salvos of the season.  

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