Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: 2020 ATP Tour: Astana Open

2020 ATP Tour: Astana Open

We take a look at the Selected Round of 16 Matches from the 2020 ATP Tour: Astana Open taking place at Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, (Hard Indoor). 

Photo Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Astana Open
ATP 250 Series 
Selected Round of 16 Matches- 27th October

Fernando Verdasco (16/10) vs John Millman (4) (9/20)
With Sasha Baron Cohen’s Borat once again portraying Kazakhstan in a less than favourable light, the ATP Tour will offer the chance to showcase a more realistic depiction of the country this week.  Obviously, Fernando Verdasco must still love playing tennis. The 2009 Aussie Open semi-finalist is pushing his body to the limit at the age of 36. His game revolves around aggressive baseline rallies and work rate, meaning the physical wear-and-tear on Verdasco is immense. His 2020 started in fairly encouraging fashion. He reached the quarterfinals in Qatar prior to a decent 3rd round run at his beloved Melbourne. But since then the wheels have fallen off- obviously compounded by the outbreak of Covid.  He entered this event with a 1-5 win-loss ratio since the Aussie Open. He will be feeling mighty relieved by his victory over Aussie James Duckworth. Here he will be hoping to make it an Aussie double against the similarly determined Millman.  

31-year-old Aussie John Millman has always looked to make the best of his abilities (in stark contrast to fellow Aussie Nick Kyrgios). Millman enjoyed a fairly non-descript career until 2018. That year saw him reach his first ATP Final in Budapest. He also pulled off one of the upsets of the year, beating Roger Federer en route to a quarterfinal run at Flushing Meadows (still his best Grand Slam result). He then reached his 2nd ATP Final towards the end of last year, losing to Novak Djokovic at in the Japan Open showpiece. The energetic Aussie clearly has an affinity for hardcourts. The immensely popular Millman actually started 2020 in decent fashion, reaching the quarterfinal in Auckland. He then almost pulled off the impossible again, pushing Roger Federer in five sets in the 3rd round of the Aussie Open. But his post Aussie Open form has been poor. He does however possess a 10-6 win-loss record on hardcourts this year.  

These two have a shared head-to-head record, with one victory apiece. But crucially, Millman took Verdasco apart last week in Cologne. So that recent experience has to be taken into consideration. I think we are in for a repeat performance, with the younger Millman set to once again dismantle the veteran Spaniard. Millman to win in straight sets at 23/20.  

Jockeys Ride Horses

Frances Tiafoe (6/10) vs Miomir Kecmanovic (2) (5/4)
Frances Tiafoe is really your prototypical modern American player.  Like Jack Sock or Sam Querrey, he has a power-based game that is built on a strong service action. Whenever is see him serve I’m reminded of Andy Roddick.  It’s been slightly disappointing to see his stagnation in recent seasons. After winning the Delray Beach event in 2018, he looked set to rocket up the world rankings. That feeling was only augmented by his quarterfinal appearance at last year’s Aussie Open.  But difficult draws and a general lack of form has stymied his progress since. A positive Covid diagnosis didn’t help matters as 2020 has once again proved quite trying.  But in amongst that he did manage an excellent 4th round run at Flushing Meadows: he also won a Challenger event in Parma. Tiafoe is an explosive talent who just needs a bit of fine-tuning. This slick indoor event could be just what he needs.  He looked devastating against Moutet in his opening match, avenging his defeat in Sardinia from a few weeks back.   

21-year-old Serb Miomir Kecmanovic has seen his star slowly rise over the year.  He reached his first ATP Final last year at the Antalya Open. He ended the year by reaching the semi-finals of the NextGen Finals.  This year the Belgrade native has broken into the world’s top 40 after some consistently good performances. He reached semi-finals in New York and Qatar in the early part of the season. He then won his debut ATP title in Austria last month, beating the likes of Nishikori and Delbonis in the process. The young Serbian hasn’t been in the best of form since that maiden win, winning only twice in six encounters.  

The American leads in the head-to-head department 1-0, disposing of the Serb at Newport Beach two years ago.  I think this is one of those cases where the seeding is deceptive. Tiafoe is the sort of raw talent who can destroy anyone on his day (just ask Moutet). I foresee a comfortable Tiafoe win, despite recent form.  

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