ATP Lyon Open Day 5 Predictions Including Nikoloz Basilashvili vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Lyon Open

With the quarterfinals now set at the Lyon Open, one of the final warm-up events ahead of Roland Garros, which begins next week, the competition looks set to grow fiercer. A number of big names remain in contention for the title in southern France, but who will book their place in the semifinals?

ATP Lyon Open Day 5 Predictions

Roberto Bautista Agut vs Taylor Fritz (first on Court Central)

Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut may not have the same affinity for clay-court tennis as many of his countryman. But the Lyon Open’s second seed is a force to be reckoned with on any surface and will surely go into his quarterfinal clash with Taylor Fritz full of confidence after beating the American in straight sets in both their previous contests. That said, he did not look at his best in the second round, dropping the first set to French young gun Corentin Moutet before rallying to win 4-6 6-4 6-3.

Fritz, meanwhile, bested Jiri Vesely 7-5 7-6 before advancing to the last eight courtesy of Richard Gasquet’s withdrawal. Neither man comes into this match blessed with massive power from the back of the court, but both are good movers, Bautista Agut particularly so, and possess reliable groundstrokes. The Spaniard has the greater variety of the two and, perhaps crucially, vastly more experience of European clay-court tennis. Expect that to prove decisive.

Prediction: Bautista Agut in two
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Denis Shapovalov vs Benoit Paire (second on Court Central)

In a match that promises plenty of exciting attacking tennis, third seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada will take on Frenchman Benoit Paire. The pair’s head-to-head is currently tied at one win apiece, with Shapovalov winning a hard-fought three-setter at the Madrid Open last year before Paire avenged that defeat at Wimbledon with a 0-6 6-2 6-4 7-6 win in the second round. Shapovalov, in his first match at the Lyon Open, came close to defeat, but recovered from a set and a break down to beat Paire’s countryman Ugo Humbert in three.

Paire was also on the ropes in his opener, but finished strongly to defeat Mackenzie McDonald 3-6 7-6 6-1 before easing past Pablo Cuevas 6-4 6-3 to reach the last eight. Both men have plenty of power and play their best tennis on the front foot. However, they also both often struggle to effectively marshal that power, whilst Paire can also fade mentally. That said, in front of a supportive French crowd, he has looked dialled in so far this week. And when he is focused, he is a difficult man to stop.

Prediction: Paire in three
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Nikoloz Basilashvili vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (third on Court Central)

In surely the pick of the quarterfinal action, top seed Nikoloz Basilashvili will take on 2017 champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second meeting between the pair. Their first also came at the Lyon Open with Tsonga claiming a 6-2 3-6 6-1 win in the semifinals two years ago on his way to lifting the title. But Basilashvili, who won ATP 500 titles in Hamburg and Beijing last season, has improved significantly since, although he was not at his most convincing in his 7-5 7-5 win over lucky loser Tristan Lamasine in the second round.

Tsonga looked impressive in beating Monte Carlo finalist Dusan Lajovic 7-6 6-4 in the first round, but less so in his 3-6 7-6 6-2 win over Canadian qualifier Steven Diez in the round of 16. That said, when his serve and forehand are firing, as they were in the deciding set against Diez, he does have the power to take the racquet out of opponent’s hands. However, so does Basilashvili. The Georgian, though perhaps slightly less explosive than Tsonga, also has fewer weaknesses than his opponent. Targeting the Tsonga backhand seems likely to be an effective strategy for the top seed. Find that wing regularly and he should be able to claim the win.

Prediction: Basilashvili in three
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Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Steve Johnson (fourth on Court Central)

The final match of the day at the Lyon Open will see fourth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime take on Steve Johnson of the USA in their first career-meeting. Auger-Aliassime has had an excellent year and impressed in battling past the industrious John Millman 7-6 7-5 in the second round. Johnson, meanwhile, arrived in Lyon with just four wins to his name so far this season. But he played some fine tennis to account for lucky loser Lloyd Harris, 7-6 6-2, and seventh seed Pierre-Hugues Herbert, 7-6 5-7 6-1, to reach just his second tour-level quarterfinal of the year.

However, he may struggle to defend his backhand against the big-hitting Auger-Aliassime. Johnson struggles to come over that wing and whilst he does possess a good slice, it is typically less effective on the slow European clay. Auger-Aliassime, in contrast, has proven himself an effective clay courter already, despite limited experience on the surface. His forehand, which he is able to hit with heavy topspin, is a particularly useful weapon in his arsenal, but his ability to drive through his two-hander should not be underestimated. Indeed, it could well prove the difference in this clash.

Prediction: Auger-Aliassime in two

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