Nine-time Basel champion Roger Federer will headline a blockbuster field at the Swiss Indoors where three current ATP Top 10 players will all be looking to stop the legendary Swiss from claiming a 10th title.
The home fans inside St. Jakobshalle won’t have to wait long to see the World No.3 in action as he is set to grace them with his presence on Monday.
Here are our thoughts on who will advance on Day 1 in Basel.
ATP Basel Day 1 Predictions
Jan-Lennard Struff vs Miomir Kecmanovic
Head-to-head: Struff 1-0 Kecmanovic
This is a meeting between two players who would have been better off shutting down their season immediately after the US Open. Since his second round defeat to John Isner at Flushing Meadows, Struff has registered just a solitary win in four tournaments. His opponent, Miomir Kecmanovic hasn’t fared any better during that span.
Struff’s season begun with so much promise when he reached the semifinals in Auckland. The German has always had the brute firepower to be ranked much higher than his current ranking of World No.41, but he has been let down by his own inconsistency and inability to produce his best tennis from match to match. But the 29-year-old has recorded arguably his best year on tour with a couple of semifinal showings in Auckland and Stuttgart, along with a quarterfinal in Barcelona. He also reached the fourth round of Grand Slam for the first time at the French Open.
Kecmanovic, who has been touted as Serbia’s next tennis superstar has shown glimpses of his abilities this year and he will be a key fixture in the 2020 season. As a former junior World No.1, his transition into the senior ranks has been less rapid than that of his contemporaries.
Struff is always a constant danger on fast hard courts and when his serve is on point, he will take some stopping. I expect him to squeeze his way into the second round.
Prediction: Struff in 3
Alex De Minaur vs Hugo Dellien
Head-to-head: First meeting
Alex De Minaur has played in three ATP tour finals this year, and won the titles in all of them. But a recurring theme is a sharp dip in form after each title win. His most recent success at the Zhuhai Championships was followed by a shocking first round loss in Tokyo to World No.104 Lloyd Harris. Although he would later go on to lose to John Isner in the first round in Shanghai, he has had a couple of weeks to recharge his batteries and recover from any ailments.
De Minaur’s opener against Hugo Dellien will be a real test on his fitness. The Bolivian qualifier knocked out Yoshihito Nishioka to earn a rare spot in the main draw of a tour-level tournament. The 25-year-old has exclusively spent his senior career on ITF and Challenger tours, painstakingly building his ranking. Dellien has played just two ATP main draw matches outside clay this season, his first coming at the US Open where he reached the second round and took a set off eventual finalist Daniil Medvedev in a four-set loss.
Assuming the precociously talented Australian is refreshed and raring to go, he should dominate the qualifier.
Prediction: De Minaur in 2
Benoit Paire vs Henri Laaksonen
Head-to-head: First meeting
The last of the day’s action will see Swiss wild card Henri Laaksonen face France’s Benoit Paire. Due to his low ranking, Laaksonen received a wild card from his home tournament that would see him make a seventh main draw appearance in Basel. However, he has a dismal record since his debut in 2012, losing in the first round on five occasions and only picked up his maiden win last year when he beat Marco Cecchinato. Paire has lost three of his last four matches and is as unpredictable as ever. Laaksonen will be in buoyant mood to get just his second win on home territory and this is mighty chance for him to do so.
Prediction: Laaksonen in 3
Roger Federer vs Peter Gojowczyk
Head-to-head: Federer 2-0 Gojowczyk
Roger Federer once served as a ball kid at this event before his iconic status and it is only fitting that he is also the most successful player at this tournament. With nine titles to his already illustrious resume, the Swiss maestro’s path towards a 10th Basel title this week will certainly be far from straightforward. Stan Wawrinka presents a potential obstacle in the quarterfinal and the likes of Alexander Zverev, and Stefanos Tsitsipas (two players who have beaten him this year) are also lurking the draw.
However, Federer will begin his title defense against a man who is in dire form. Gojowczyk had won only one tour-level match all season before his stunning run to the semifinals of Washington in early August. And since his exploits in the US capital, he has not another match since. It would take a sizable upset for the 30-year-old German to record a rare main draw win, but the top seed will be in charge of proceedings.
Prediction: Federer in 2
Main Photo from Getty.