Tennis Preview – Thursday November 3

While many seeded players have been bounced in the early going at both Valencia and Basel, there are still plenty of great match-ups as these tournaments progress.

BASELINE RALLY’S MATCH OF THE DAY:

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO VS. KEVIN ANDERSON

Tennis fans have had to wait a whole week to see a rematch between these two big hitting righties as Del Potro and Anderson square off in Valencia, Spain tomorrow morning.  World #14 Del Potro bested the 32nd ranked Anderson 6-4 3-6 6-4 in Vienna last week.   Del Potro also defeated Anderson 6-4 6-4 in the quarters of Delray Beach back in February.

Both of these men possess massive first serves with Anderson in the top ten on tour in aces and Del Potro in the top ten in winning percentage on first service points.  At this stage in his career, however, Del Potro possesses a more complete return game and should be able to take advantage and garner some break chances.  Additionally, while Anderson hits big, he does not have a weapon that is the equivalent of Del Potro’s missile of a forehand.  Also importantly, this match means the world to Del Potro as good results this week and next may punch his ticket to the ATP Tour Championships later this month.

Look for Del Potro to pick his spots and attack Anderson’s second serve.  That should be enough to carry the day

PREDICTION: Del Potro 7-5 6-4

OTHER MATCHES TO WATCH:

FLORIAN MAYER VS. IVAN LJUBICIC

In another exciting match, Germany’s Florian Mayer takes on Croatian national Ivan Ljubicic in Basel.  This is another rematch of a recent match as world #31 Ljubicic bested world #22  Mayer in Beijing in early October.  In that match, Mayer had a tremendous amount of trouble with Ljubicic’s first serve with the Croat winning 93% of first service points.

Look for more of the same in this match as Ljubicic has historically been able to get the better of the German by attacking and moving in off of his first serve.

PREDICTION: LJUBICIC 7-5 6-1

MARIN CILIC VS. MARCEL GRANOLLERS

The Valencia open features another great early round match-up of unseeded players as world #20 Marin Cilic faces 34th ranked Marcel Granollers.  This is a match-up of a big hitter in Cilic versus a finesse player in Granollers.  Granollers has enjoyed some success in this tournament in his home country, reaching the finals last year.

Cilic is 4-0 in his career against Granollers and his recipe for success has been to attack Granollers’ less than potent serve.  In their previous matches, Granollers has not been able to win more than 67% of first serve points on any occassion.  For him to have any chance of victory, he has to get that number over 75% and keep his first serve percentage over 70%.  Quite simply, Cilic is not an easy man to break.  Cilic has won over 70% of first service points in all his matches with Granollers and has been over 80% on two occassions.

Look for Cilic’s all around big game to continue to give the Spaniard fits.

PREDICTION: CILIC 6-3 6-3

UPSET OF THE DAY:

RADEK STEPANEK VS. ANDY RODDICK

In one of the marquee matches in Basel, American Andy Roddick squares off against Czech Radek Spanek.  These fellows are not used to playing each other in the early rounds of tournaments, as three of their last four meetings have come at tournament finals (with Roddick winning all three) and the other coming in the semis (where Stepanek prevailed).

Despite Roddick winning six of seven career matches against Stepanek, look for Stepanek to squeak out a victory this time around.  While the return of serve has never been Roddick’s strength, he has been particularly poor this season, and has not even managed to win over 50% of 2nd serve return points this year.

Stepanek’s strong all around game may force Roddick into some errors in this match.  If Roddick does not serve lights out, he may be bowing out early in this tournament.

PREDICTION: STEPANEK 6-7 6-4 7-5

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  1. In retrospect, your match prediction for Del Potro-Anderson was spot on! 🙂 I noticed during their match in Vienna last week, that Anderson has a strong forehand but he employs it in a slightly “ball-bashing fashion.” Against a sub-par DelPo, that was enough to make it a close match. I guess in Valencia, neither player was serving as well and DelPo was able to take advantage of the return games to score more points. I hope he has an easy match with Querrey and that he gets to the SF in Valencia. That would be a pretty big achievement for him.

    • JMDP had a pretty easy go of it with Querry. He can beat those kind of players (Querry, Isner, Raonic, Karlovic) 9 out of 10 times. I also think he’ll have an easy go of it with Granollers (who is playing some inspired tennis, but is due for a let down). Del Po vs. Ferrer in the finals looks like a good bet… And with a trip to the ATP World Tour Finals on the line, I wouldn’t be against JMDP winning Valencia. In fact, that’s my pick to win this tournament.

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