David Goffin and Jan Lennard Struff as well as Danil Medvedev against Dusan Lajovic.
ATP Tour 2021
ATP 500 Series
Rotterdam Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands (Indoor Hardcourts)
Selected Round of 32 Matches- 3rd March 2021
David Goffin (6) (63/100) vs Jan Lennard Struff (12/10)
It’s quite amazing to think that David Goffin in 30 already. The Belgian energizer bunny usually makes his living off these smaller three-set tournaments. Goffin began his year in decent fashion with a semi-final run at the Antalya Open. He then had a horrible fortnight in Australia, losing in his opening match at the Aussie Open warm-up event and the Aussie Open itself. But he showed last week in Montpellier why its impossible to ever count him out. He would go on to capture his 5th ATP title, beating the ultra-tough Roberto Bautista Agut in the final. It’s been a tough few years for Goffin. The indefatigable Belgian had a major dip in form in 2020 prior to contracting Covid in October. People may have been forgiven for thinking the worst after his poor performances in Melbourne. But Goffin was born for these events, particularly indoor hardcourt challenges: he reached the final here in 2017.
Another 30-year-old, German Jan Lennard Struff is in desperate need of a form reset. The season started pretty well for the pugnacious player. He reached the semi-finals in Antalya and played some good tennis at the ATP Cup: he beat both Raonic and Lajovic in that event. But the wheels started to fall off in Melbourne. A straight sets defeat to the unfancied Aussie O’Connell in the opening round was not what the doctor ordered. He then went to Montpellier last week and was comprehensively beaten in the first round by Peter Gojowczyk. This has become a disturbing trend for the German. Last year, following the resumption of tennis following the Covid break, he began decently at the Cincinnati Open and US Open. But after that he would go on to lose eight of his eleven matches for the remainder of the season.
Their head-to-head record actually makes for rather interesting reading. Goffin leads the head-to-head 4-2. But he actually won their first four encounters. But the German has actually won their last two matches. That includes a tight three-set win at last year’s Cincinnati Open. So, perhaps Goffin is the ideal opponent for Struff. Struff is in many ways a slightly inferior version of Goffin. Perhaps there’s some value in backing a three-set Goffin victory at 29/10.
Danil Medvedev (1) (1/14) vs Dusan Lajovic (13/2)
This could actually be quite a historic week in the history of the ATP Tour. Should Danil Medvedev reach the final this week, he will become the number 2 ranked player in the world. If he achieves this milestone, he will become the first man outside the ‘Big Four’ to enter the world’s top 2 since 2005. 2005! Medvedev has been immense over the past four or five months. He ended 2020 in resounding fashion, winning both the Paris Masters and ATP Finals. He continued that hot streak at the ATP Cup and Aussie Open. It ultimately fell to Novak Djokovic to break the Russian’s 20-match win streak. Still, Medvedev will be pleased by reaching his 2nd Grand Slam Final.
30-year-old Dusan Lajovic has already enjoyed a rollercoaster year- and its only March. He reached the 4th round at the Aussie Open, making it only the 2nd time in his career that he’s made it that far in a Major. But on either side of that result, he drew blanks at the ATP Cup and in Montpellier. Lajovic is really your prototypical clay-courter. His best results came in a sizzling period in 2019. He reached the Monte Carlo Final and then won his one and only title in Umag.
This will be the 3rd time these two will have met. The series is tied at 1-1, with Medvedev winning their first match in Moscow in 2018. Lajovic avenged that defeat in Monte Carlo the following year, in the midst of his excellent clay-court form of that year. But the Moscow result is really worth taking note of because it was also played on indoor hardcourts. And Medvedev brushed the Serb aside with ease in that match. I know it’s not the sexy choice, but Medvedev in straight sets is the only choice at 3/10. And it’s not much of a choice.