Three Frenchmen remain in the 2019 Moselle Open semifinals. Trying to derail Paire, Tsonga, and Pouille from capturing a ninth title in eleven years for the home nation will be Slovenian Aljaz Bedene. Who do you got?
ATP Metz Semifinal Predictions
Aljaz Bedene vs Benoit Paire
This might get tense. At the US Open, Paire had the Slovenian on the ropes, leading 2-1 in sets and 5-4 on his own serve. The Frenchman had a 40-0 lead and blew all three matchpoints, ultimately losing in the fifth-set tie-break. He walked off the court without giving the Slovenian a handshake, later saying he was insulted by him. He refused to talk about details, but mentioned hoping the ITF will take some action. Paire committed 99 unforced errors in that match.
Bedene is the surprise semifinalist here, reaching his first tour-level semifinal indoors. The Frenchman is the more accomplished player on this surface and a runner-up here in 2017. Paire is playing his 29th tournament of the season but the uneasy scheduling doesn’t seem to bother him yet.
They first played each other ten years ago at a Futures tournament in Austria, but when it comes to the more relevant meetings, Paire leads 2-1 on hard in the last three years. Had he took one of these three US Open match points, I would surely point to him as a favorite. However, we all know his mental lapses and who knows how he’s going to react to playing the Slovenian again. The match should depend on Paire’s performance.
Prediction: Paire in 3
Lucas Pouille vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
The Frenchman is on an eight-match winning streak, including a Challenger Tour title in Cassis two weeks ago. So far in Metz, he managed to beat Pablo Andujar, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and the second seed Nikoloz Basilashvili (the Georgian retired down 1-4 in the third set). He’s on a comeback trail following multiple injuries and for the first time in months, things are going well are for him.
Lucas Pouille has had a rollercoaster-ish season. From the best result of his career (Australian Open semifinal), he went straight on to lose five matches in a row. The grass-court season brought a bit of a resurgence but the 25-year-old isn’t really living up to his potential. He’s been playing well this week though, defeating Lorenzo Sonego and coming back from a set and a break down to Filip Krajinovic.
Tsonga is a three-time champion of the Moselle Open and one of the better indoor players on the tour. His forehand and serve are still proving to be extremely effective and the sheer power of the Frenchman allows him to dominate his opponents. Pouille plays a similar forehand-oriented game, but he’s relatively inconsistent compared to Tsonga and doesn’t possess that big of a first serve.
They squared off three times on indoor hard with Pouille leading 2-1. One of these wins came by retirement though, and the score at that point was 6-1, 5-5 for the opponent. Both Frenchmen are great on this surface and Tsonga has simply been playing more effectively lately. He got 21 aces against Basilashvili and his serve should be a big asset yet again.
Prediction: Tsonga in 3
Main Photo from Getty.
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