ATP Cup Day 6 Predictions Including Novak Djokovic vs Cristian Garin

Novak Djokovic, ATP Cup day six
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The competition for a place in the inaugural ATP Cup quarterfinals is hotting up and as ever we here at LWOT are offering our predictions for as many matches as possible, including Rafael Nadal’s clash with Yoshihito Nishioka and Dominic Thiem’s battle against Hubert Hurkacz. Serbia and Australia have already booked their place in the last eight, with Davis Cup Finals winner Spain looking almost certain to join them. But who will claim the remaining places?

ATP Cup Day Six Predictions

Marin Cilic vs Guido Pella

Head-to-head: Pella 2-1 Cilic

Croatia’s place in the final eight will be assured if they can defeat Argentina, having won both of their opening ties. 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic has played an important role in their success so far, winning both of his singles matches. But he may be in for a stern test up against Argentina’s Guido Pella, who has beaten him in their two most recent meetings, including a stunning comeback win on the grass courts at the All England Club in 2018.

The Argentine has endured some struggles so far at the ATP Cup, however. After winning his opener against Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak 6-2 2-6 6-2, he fell to a three-set defeat at the hands of Austria’s Dennis Novak, despite winning the first set to love. That defeat was surely damaging to his confidence, particularly because the Austrian is ranked 80 places below him in the world rankings, although it should be noted that Novak has played some excellent tennis so far at the ATP Cup.

Pella will need to return well in this match, with Cilic still possessing one of the better serves on the ATP Tour. But the Croatian is not the player he once was off the ground. His forehand has become concerningly prone to misfiring, whilst his backhand has always been limited as an offensive weapon. Pella himself does not possess massive power, but he does move better than Cilic and spreads the court well with his forehand. If he can maintain his composure, a problem for him so far at the ATP Cup, he should have enough to see off the former-world #3.

Prediction: Pella in 3
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Roberto Bautista Agut vs Go Soeda

Head-to-head: first meeting

It has been a strange start to 2020 for Roberto Bautista Agut. The Spaniard enjoyed a career-best season in 2019, deservedly finishing the year inside the world’s top ten and reaching the semifinals at Wimbledon and the last eight at Melbourne Park. However, he has hardly been tested so far at the ATP Cup, having demolished Georgia’s world #678 Aleksandre Metreveli 6-0 6-0, before beating Uruguayan teenager Franco Roncadelli, ranked 1657th in the world, 6-1 6-2.

His next opponent Go Soeda will hope to provide him with a rather greater challenge. The Japanese has also won both of his matches so far at the ATP Cup, beating Uruguay’s Martin Cuevas and Metreveli, although the Georgian did take him the distance. More to the point, they were players that Soeda, ranked 112th in the world, would expect to beat. Bautista Agut is not. The Spaniard will likely have to work harder for his third win of the tournament, but expect him to get it in straight-sets all the same.

Prediction: Bautista Agut in 2
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Gael Monfils vs Kevin Anderson

Head-to-head: Monfils 5-1 Anderson

After a 2019 blighted by injury, Kevin Anderson has excelled on his return to action at the ATP Cup. In his opener, the South African gave world #2 Novak Djokovic a real test before falling to a narrow 6-7 6-7 defeat. But he bounced back from that defeat against Cristian Garin, beating the Chilean comprehensively, 6-0 6-3. His serve has, as ever, been firing, with Anderson having landed 26 aces so far in Brisbane, but he has also impressed off the ground.

He will need to maintain that level against world #1 and top-ranked Frenchman Gael Monfils. He too beat Garin, 6-3 7-5, before being comfortably beaten by Djokovic, ultimately winning just five games despite making a good start to the match. That was surely a bruising loss for Monfils, but he will be able to take confidence from his excellent record against Anderson, who he has beaten five times in six meetings, although it was the South African who won their most recent encounter at Wimbledon in 2018.

Both men have plenty of power, which should make this an entertaining encounter. Monfils is by a distance the more mobile of the two, although Anderson does move well for a man of his size. And it is Anderson who is the better ball-striker. The two-time Grand Slam finalist’s forehand is an underrated weapon and his backhand is rock-solid. This has not been a good matchup for him, but he should be full of confidence and if he can impose himself early, expect him to edge out Monfils.

Prediction: Anderson in 3
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Novak Djokovic vs Cristian Garin

Head-to-head: first meeting

One rather suspects that Garin has not enjoyed his experience at the ATP Cup so far. He enjoyed a fine 2019, winning two titles on the clay, in Houston and Munich, and breaking into the top 40. But he is far less comfortable away from the ‘terre battue’ and that has shown in Brisbane, where he is yet to win a set in singles. And his prospects do not look good up against world #2 Djokovic, who has looked sharp so far in Brisbane.

Djokovic has guaranteed Serbia’s place in the last eight with two wins out of two in the singles and a vital victory alongside Viktor Troicki against France in the doubles. That has doubtless begun to assuage the bitter memories of the Serbian’s quarterfinal exit at the hands of Russia at the Davis Cup Finals in November. Indeed, Djokovic arguably has a point to prove on several fronts, having lost his #1 ranking to his great rival Rafael Nadal at the close of 2019 and with an Australian Open title to defend in the coming weeks.

He did, however, take a medical timeout for an elbow issue in his last match, which may be a cause for concern going forward. But if he is fit and firing, it is hard to see how Garin can win this match. The Chilean covers the court well and has a useful enough forehand. But he does not have the power to really trouble Djokovic and his serve could prove to be easy pickings for a man who is widely considered to be the greatest returner of all time. Expect Djokovic to make it three wins from three.

Prediction: Djokovic in 2

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