Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: ATP Tour 2020: ABN AMRO Tennis Tournament (Rotterdam Open)

ATP Tour 2020: ABN AMRO Tennis Tournament (Rotterdam Open)

ATP Tour 2020: Australian Open Preview - Round of 32

Damien Kayat takes a look at the selected Round of 32 and Round of 16 Matches from the ABN AMRO Tennis Tournament taking place at Rotterdam Ahoy Indoor Hardcourt. 


ATP Tour 2020 | ABN AMRO Tournament  | Rotterdam Ahoy (Indoor Hardcourt)
Selected Round of 32 & 16 - 12 February 2020

Gael Monfils  (2/10) 
vs Joao Sousa (32/10)
“Sliderman” struck again in France last week, with Monfils winning the Open Sud de France and his 9th career title.  Monfils has actually enjoyed a solid 12 months, neatly augmenting his resume while the ‘Big Three’ fight for world dominance. Monfils won this event last season, going one better than his appearance in the 2016 final. Semi-finals in Dubai, Canada and Vienna speak volumes to his levels of consistency. He also came close to a Grand Slam breakthrough, with 4th round showings in Melbourne and Roland Garros. He then reached the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows. So this would appear to be a cakewalk for the Frenchman. But the 33-year-old has shown signs of physical distress in the immediate aftermath of success before. His game is based on movement and every victory seems to require a Herculean effort from Monfils. So perhaps this could be the opportunity for a sneaky early tournament upset. 

30-year-old Portuguese player Joao Sousa is something of a journeyman on tour. Alright, that may be slightly unfair.  The three-time ATP Champion is a dogged competitor who is always up for a scrap. Though he says that clay is his favourite surface, his best results have come on hardcourt.  Sousa has been on a dreadful run, losing five consecutive matches dating back to last year’s Shanghai Open. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Sousa in 2019. The plucky Portuguese reached the semi-final stage in St Petersburg and the Swiss Open. That once again showcases his ability to go deep on hardcourts. He also reached the final 16 at Wimbledon, showing an appreciation for a surface that doesn’t suit his abilities. Sousa is a doughty competitor who will exploit any weakness from his opponent. 

This will be their 4th meeting, with Monfils understandably leading the head-to-head 3-1. Their last meeting came all the way back in 2016. Monfils is the clear favourite at a tournament he loves. But there’s always hangover effect when Monfils is involved. Perhaps there’s value in the Portuguese terrier as Monfils looks to come off last week’s high.  

Round of 16

Roberto Bautista Agut  (9/20) 
vs 
Pablo Carreno Busta (7/4)
This match is a sign of the times, with two Spanish professionals who prefer hardcourts to clay. 31-year-old Roberto Bautista Agut overcame Marton Fucsovics in a gruelling opening round match. Bautista Agut enjoyed an exceptional ATP Cup, winning all his matches en route to the final with Spain. He beat the likes of Dusan Lajovic and Nick Kyrgios with ease. That was followed by a decent 3rd round run in Melbourne. All in all, 2019 was a solid year for the Spanish baseliner. He won in Qatar and enjoyed some solid finishes throughout the campaign. Quarterfinals in Miami, Cincinnati and Canada underline his consistency on hardcourts amongst elite fields. But it was a semi-final at Wimbledon that defined his season. Bautista Agut is an arch competitor who will always take some beating.   

Pablo Carreno Busta is the younger competitor and actually beat his compatriot to the Grand Slam semi-final punch: he reached the 2017 US Open semi-final. With four ATP titles to his name, he trails Bautista Agut by five victories. He enjoyed a slightly more sedate 2019, with success in slightly less extravagant events. He began the season with a 4th round run in Melbourne. He then followed that up with some semi-finals at the German and Antalya Open. He showed decent form in the North-American hardcourt swing without really breaking through. He won the Chengdu Open and reached the semi-final of the Stockholm Open. So you can’t argue that his season was a disaster. 2020 started with a quarterfinal in Adelaide and continued with a 3rd round run in Melbourne.  Like Bautista-Agut, Carreno Busta won his opening match in three sets. 

These two will obviously be very familiar with each other.  Bautista Agut leads the head-to-head 2-1, though he won their last meeting back in 2017.  I think that Carreno Busta has just as much raw talent as his compatriot.  He just needs to keep that unforced error count down and I think he has a chance here.  

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