Halle Open Day One Predictions Including Gael Monfils vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert

Khachanov Halle Open

Day one at the Halle Open boasts a line-up of plenty of exciting matches and Last Word on Tennis is offering predictions for all of them. But who will book their place in the second round on the grass courts in Saxony-Anhalt?

Gael Monfils vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert (second on Stadion)

Head-to-head: Herbert 1-0 Monfils

Monfils does not typically play his best tennis on the grass and Wimbledon is the only Major at which he has failed to reach the quarterfinals. But the Frenchman has played some excellent tennis so far this season and should be fairly well adjusted to the demands of grass-court tennis after playing two matches last week at the Stuttgart Open. However, he will be in for a tough test up against the skilful Herbert, who is enjoying the best season of his singles career and has a game tailor made for grass.

His precise serving and deft touch in the forecourt are difficult to contend with on any surface, but particularly so on the slick, low-bouncing grass. He will almost certainly force Monfils to adopt a more aggressive approach than he usually employs. Fortunately for the fifth seed, he does boast the power to hit through opponents and Herbert is not one of the better movers on the tour. But Herbert’s excellent volleys should give him the decisive edge in this contest at the Halle Open.

Prediction: Herbert in three.
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Radu Albot vs Matthew Ebden (first on Court 1)

Head-to-head: Albot 1-0 Ebden

It has been an excellent season for Albot, crowned by his triumph at the Delray Beach Open in February. He will also surely have high hopes of a productive grass-court season after showing last year at the All England Club, where he reached the round of 32, that he can play on the grass. But so too can Australia’s Ebden. The world #66 may not be having one of his better seasons, but he is an effective server and volleys very well.

Albot, who typically relies more on his movement and consistency than massive power or an attacking mindset, could well struggle to contend with Ebden’s serve-and-volleying style of play. It is one that players rarely have to face in the modern game, but it remains a very effective tactic on a grass court. If Ebden deploys it effectively at the Halle Open, expect him to have too much for the Moldovan Albot.

Prediction: Ebden in three.
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Karen Khachanov vs Damir Dzumhur (third on Stadion)

Head-to-head: Dzumhur 1-0 Khachanov

The big-hitting Khachanov has enjoyed some fine results on the grass, amongst them reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon last season (lost to Djokovic). And after a difficult start to the season, he put together a good run at the French Open, reaching the quarterfinals, though he will surely have been disappointed by the nature of his 4-6 2-6 loss to eventual champion Matteo Berrettini in the first round in Stuttgart last week.

In that match, the Italian simply out hit him, a feat Dzumhur seems unlikely to emulate. The Bosnian is a fine mover and makes few errors off the ground. But he has struggled with injuries all year and has won just five matches. Nor is grass his favourite surface. If Khachanov is able to reign in the unforced errors that have been his undoing at times this year, he should be able to impose himself on Dzumhur and hit his way to victory fairly comfortably.

Prediction: Khachanov in two.

Note: Dzumhur withdrew just before the match began and was replaced by Miomir Kecmanovic.

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