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PREVIEW: 2022 ATP Tour – Lyon & Geneva Open selected quarterfinal matches

Damien Kayat previews the Lyon and Geneva Open matches between Cameron Norrie and Sebastian Baez as well as Kamil Majchrzak and Richard Gasquet on19 May 2022.

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Damien Kayat previews the Lyon and Geneva Open matches between Cameron Norrie and Sebastian Baez as well as Kamil Majchrzak and Richard Gasquet on 19 May 2022.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

2021 ATP Tour

ATP 250 Series

Lyon Open- Geneva Open

Selected Quarterfinals- 19th May

Lyon Open

Parc de la Tete d’Or- Velodrome Georges Preveral (Outdoor Clay)

Cameron Norrie (1) (91/100) vs Sebastian Baez (7) (86/100)

I have been puzzled by Norrie during this year’s clay-court campaign.  The British No.1 looked poised for a strong mid-season after back-to-back finals at Delray Beach and Acapulco. 

He won his 3rd ATP title at Delray Beach before a tight straight-sets defeat to Nadal in Mexico. He then made a decent showing of it in the Sunshine Double, propelling himself into the world’s top 10 for the first time. But his clay-court record for the year was 5-4 coming into this event.  Norrie’s plucky counterpunching style has served him brilliantly on clay in the past. 

He reached the final here last year alongside another final at Estoril. But he has looked a bit jaded and occasionally outgunned in recent weeks.  True power hitters such as Carlos Alcaraz Garfia and Marin Cilic have exposed his inability to really hit through the court. 

But I wouldn’t expect Norrie to get too down on himself. He was the epitome of professionalism in his opening match, dispatching of Miami Open surprise package Francisco Cerundolo in straight sets. He will be keen to get his season back on track and finish the job that he started last year. 

This could prove a very tricky encounter for the pugnacious Brit.  Sebastian Baez is you up-and-coming, prototypical clay-court practitioner.  Just take a gander at his records on the lower-level circuits. 16 of his 17 finals at the lower level have come on clay-courts. The 21-year-old Argentine arrived on my radar near the end of 2021. 

He smashed it on the Challenger Tour last year, winning six titles in nine finals (all of which came on clay).  This helped catapult him into the NextGen Finals (where he lost to current tennis sensation Carlos Alcaraz Garfia). 

And he has gone from strength to strength on the tour proper- although most of that success has been resigned to clay-courts.  He reached his maiden final in the Chile Open before winning his maiden ATP Tour title in Estoril. His round of 16 victory over Otte extended his recent clay-court record to ten wins out of eleven matches (qualifiers included). 

The Verdict: Baez to win in three sets at 33/10- This will be the first meeting between these two.  I think Baez will play this match absolutely pressure-free.  He is rapid around the court and can actually match Norrie’s insane level of energy.  Norrie could be surprised by just how energetic the diminutive Argentine can be. 

Geneva Open

Tennis Club de Geneve, Geneva, Switzerland (Outdoor Clay-court)

Kamil Majchrzak (96/100) vs Richard Gasquet (82/100)

This should be an intriguing match between two players who have delivered major surprises this week. A lot was expected from 26-year-old Pole Kamil Majchrzak this year (especially on the clay).  He was 19-9 on this surface last year- though admittedly he played the majority of his tennis on the Challenger tour last season. 

And he started this year in fairly spectacular style, winning all three of his matches to help Poland qualify for the semi-finals of the ATP Cup. He then won his first ever Aussie Open main-draw match before making it to the semi-finals of the Maharashtra Open. But things devolved pretty quickly after that.  He came into Geneva needing a big week to revitalize his flagging fortunes. 

And he got it courtesy of a brilliant opening win against 8th seed Alex Bublik. He followed that up with a routine demolition of Italian Marco Cecchinato. He is now free-rolling and will be a dangerous opponent. 

Sure, Majchrzak’s victory over Bublik was somewhat surprising.  But it isn’t even in the same stratosphere as Gasquet’s victory against Danil Medvedev. The Russian was returning from a hernia operation that had kept him off the courts since March.  But you can’t take anything away from the 35-year-old Frenchman. His performance was full of flair and imagination.  That single-handed backhand (long extolled by tennis purists) was in brilliant form throughout.  He also took advantage of Medvedev’s rustiness through some perfectly played drop shots. 

He moved surprisingly well across the clay considering this was his first ever match in this event.  This is actually his 4th quarterfinal in what has been an industrious year for the Frenchman. He clearly still loves the game and he won’t have a better chance of securing a semi-final berth than this. 

The Verdict: Majchrzak to win at 96/100- This will be the first ever meeting between these two.  I think it’s easy to get caught up in the romance of the Gasquet narrative.  But Medvedev was certainly nowhere near his best and the Frenchman is now 35 years of age.  There’s clearly a reason why he battles to go beyond the quarterfinal stage at this point of his career.  I think that Majchrzak can dictate terms on serve and he may be able to outmanoeuvre Gasquet with his own drop shot expertise. 

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