ATP Rio Open Day 2 Predictions Including Dominic Thiem vs Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves

Guido Pella at the Rio Open

Day one at the ATP Rio Open was certainly memorable, with some thrilling tennis played throughout the day, including a bad-tempered three-hour marathon between the young guns Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Thiago Seyboth Wild. On day two, a number of star names will join the action, including the recent Australian Open runner-up. As ever, we here at LWOT are offering our predictions across the board, including for Argentina Open champion Casper Ruud’s match up with Gianluca Mager. But who will book their place in the second round?

Rio Open Day Two Predictions

Borna Coric vs Juan Ignacio Londero

Head-to-head: first meeting

Juan Ignacio Londero had a breakout campaign on the ATP Tour last year. At the inaugural Cordoba Open, he won not only his first tour-level match, but ultimately the title, beating his compatriot Guido Pella in the final. He then went on to reach the fourth round at Roland Garros before being beaten by eventual champion Rafael Nadal. Clearly then, the Argentine is a man at home on the terre battue. Which could spell trouble for his first-round opponent Borna Coric.

The Croatian has endured a difficult start to the season, suffering a disappointing straight-sets first-round defeat at the Australian Open to Sam Querrey. He followed that by losing in the first round in Buenos Aires to Thiago Monteiro. He remains a very talented player, with the weaponry to cause Londero problems. But the Argentine has established himself as a force to be reckoned with on the clay and, given Coric’s struggles, should prove just too strong here.

Prediction: Londero in 3
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Marco Cecchinato vs Dusan Lajovic

Head-to-head: Cecchinato 2-2 Lajovic

This is arguably the match of day two at the Rio Open. Marco Cecchinato certainly has clay-court pedigree, having reached the semifinals at Roland Garros in 2018, stunning Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals en route. He has also won three tour-level titles on the clay, most recently in Buenos Aires last season. But he has lost his way of late. His victory over Djokovic was his last at Grand Slam-level and he has won just one of his six matches so far this year.

Dusan Lajovic, in a marked contrast, is currently playing some of the best tennis of his career. The Serbian, who reached the final at the Monte Carlo Masters last season, was an integral part of his nation’s successful campaign at the ATP Cup, where he scored vital wins over Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarterfinals and Karen Khachanov in the semifinals. He backed that up by reaching the round of 32 at Melbourne Park, although he looked short of his best in losing in the quarterfinals in Buenos Aires.

This will be the fourth meeting between the pair in a head-to-head currently tied at two wins apiece, although only one of those matches came at tour-level. That was won by Cecchinato last season in Doha, but it is hard to see a repeat of that result at the Rio Open. Both men possess elegant single-handed backhands and formidable power. But whilst Lajovic is striking the ball with conviction, Cecchinato is not.

Prediction: Lajovic in 2
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Dominic Thiem vs Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves

Head-to-head: first meeting

Dominic Thiem has proven over the last 12 months that whilst he may be the heir apparent to Nadal’s clay-court throne, he is more than just a clay-court specialist. Last season, he won titles in Indian Wells, Beijing and Vienna and he backed that up by reaching his third Grand Slam final at the Australian Open, where he pushed Djokovic to the brink, before succumbing in five sets. But one suspects that he will nonetheless be glad to be back on his favoured clay.

His opponent, Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves, is ranked 341st in the world and will be making his debut at tour-level having been awarded a wildcard. He has played some good tennis at Challenger-level recently, however, reaching the semifinals in Punta Del Este, although in his last outing he lost in the first round in Peru at a Futures event. And although it will be a memorable experience for him to play a top-four opponent on a main show court, the power of Thiem will surely prove too great for him to resist.

Prediction: Thiem in 2
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Guido Pella vs Thiago Monteiro

Head-to-head: first meeting

Guido Pella has made a solid start to the 2020 season. At the ATP Cup, he won two of his four matches, including an impressive straight-sets win over Marin Cilic. He backed that up by reaching the third round of the Australian Open, but he will surely be disappointed by the start he has made to the Golden Swing, losing in the first round in Cordoba and the quarterfinals in Buenos Aires. That leaves him a man in need of wins at the Rio Open ahead of his title defence in Santiago.

Monteiro, meanwhile, surely has a special place in his heart for the Rio Open. The Brazilian won his first tour-level match in Rio in 2016, beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as a wildcard. That did not lead to an immediate breakthrough on to the main tour for Monteiro, but he arrives at the Rio Open in good form after a run to the quarterfinals at the Argentina Open, although he may be disappointed to have lost out there to Portugal’s Pedro Sousa.

Pella is not one of the biggest hitters on the ATP Tour, but he gives little away from the back of the court and is typically more than willing to engage in long rallies, where his consistent accuracy and depth often serve him well. Monteiro has rather more power, particularly off the forehand side, but is also at his best as a counter-puncher. Expect a close match, featuring plenty of extended baseline exchanges. But Pella is the higher ranked man for a reason and his greater quality and experience should ultimately prove decisive.

Prediction: Pella in 3

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