ATP Hamburg European Open Day 1 Predictions Including Andrey Rublev vs Tennys Sandgren

Andrey Rublev in action at the ATP Hamburg Open

The ATP Hamburg Open has been restored to its position as a French Open warm-up event due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen the tennis calendar shifted around considerably. As a result, the tournament has attracted plenty of star power, with four of the top ten set to take to the courts in Germany. But who will book their place in the second round on day one in Hamburg?

ATP Hamburg Open Day 1 Predictions

Taylor Fritz vs Pablo Cuevas

Head-to-head: first meeting

Taylor Fritz was bundled out in the first round in Rome to Stefano Travaglia, falling to the Italian wildcard for the second time this year after a defeat at the ATP Cup in January. In the American’s defence, it was his first match on clay in more than a year with the change in surfaces clearly causing him a problem. And that loss came on the back of a disappointing defeat to Denis Shapovalov in the third round at the US Open, with Fritz broken when serving for the match against the Canadian.

Pablo Cuevas, meanwhile, has played relatively little tennis on the ATP Tour this season, but did reach back-to-back quarterfinals in Cordoba and Buenos Aires during the Golden Swing. And after a first-round loss at the US Open, the Uruguayan made his return to the clay at the Aix-en-Provence Challenger, where he reached the quarterfinals, before beating Kevin Krawietz and Gilles Simon in the qualifying to reach the main draw at the ATP Hamburg Open.

That should stand him in good stead against Fritz, who may well still be trying to manage the transition from the fast hard courts in New York to the European clay. Cuevas also has good memories of playing in Hamburg to call upon, having finished as the runner-up in 2016 as well as reaching the semifinals as a qualifier in 2009. He is, of course, in the twilight of his career, but he remains an accomplished clay-courter and should prove too strong for Fritz.

Prediction: Cuevas in 3
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Tommy Paul vs Kevin Anderson

Head-to-head: first meeting

For Tommy Paul, 2020 has been a year of firsts. He made a tremendous start to the season at the Adelaide International, reaching his first ATP Tour semifinal as a qualifier. A week later, he reached the third round at the Australian Open, winning his first Grand Slam matches in the process. Having broken into the top 100 at the back-end of 2019, he now finds himself at a career-high world #57 and looks set to rise higher still in the ATP rankings.

For Kevin Anderson, the last few months have been rather less positive. The South African, who was once ranked as high as fifth in the world, has slipped outside the world’s top 100 after shoulder and knee injuries, with the latter requiring two surgeries. He has faced some tough draws since returning to action at the start of this season due to his deteriorated ranking, including facing eventual finalist Alexander Zverev in the first round at the US Open.

He does still possess one of the biggest serves in the game and a powerful forehand to match, which can make him tough to stop. He has also enjoyed some success on the clay, reaching the final at the Grand Prix Hassan II in 2013 and the last 16 at the French Open on four occasions. But Paul has that much more match sharpness, whilst his speed around the court and his accurate, penetrating forehand should make things difficult for the South African, who is not yet back to his best.

Prediction: Paul in 3
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Jiri Vesely vs Gilles Simon

Head-to-head: Simon 2-0 Vesely

Neither Jiri Vesely nor Simon has looked particularly impressive so far since the season resumed. The Czech did win his second ATP title, five years after winning his first, at the Maharashtra Open in February, re-entering the world’s top 100 as a result, but he has struggled since and arrived in Hamburg with just one win in his last four matches. However, he looked sharp in the ATP Hamburg Open qualifying, beating Milan Welte and Lenny Hampel without dropping a set.

Simon, in contrast, saw his struggles continue. The Frenchman arrived in Hamburg having won just two matches since the season restarted and, despite thrashing Mats Rosenkratz 6-1 6-1 in the first round of qualifying, he was beaten in the final round of qualifying by Cuevas, only reaching the main draw as a lucky loser. He has, however, beaten Jiri Vesely in both of their previous meetings, which cannot be ignored. But Vesely is at his best on the clay and has been serving superbly. Expect his greater power to give him the edge.

Prediction: Vesely in 3
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Andrey Rublev vs Tennys Sandgren

Head-to-head: first meeting

Andrey Rublev will surely be glad to be back at the ATP Hamburg Open. In 2019, after spending the past 18 months in the wilderness, the Russian excelled in Hamburg, beating Cristian Garin, Casper Ruud, Dominic Thiem and Pablo Carreno Busta en route to the final. Although he fell just short there up against Nikoloz Basilashvili, he built on that run in Germany to finish the season strongly, beating Roger Federer in Cincinnati and finishing the year ranked comfortably inside the top 30.

As a result of his efforts, he is seeded fifth in Hamburg this year and will be looking to repeat his 2019 exploits when he begins his campaign against Tennys Sandgren. The American, who made an excellent start to 2020, highlighted by reaching his second Australian Open quarterfinal, has played indifferently in recent weeks. In his last outing, after coming through the qualifying, he squandered a match point against Salvatore Caruso to lose in the first round of the main draw at the Italian Open.

He negotiated the qualifying again in Hamburg, beating Alexei Popyrin from a set down and Joao Sousa for the loss of only three games to reach the main draw. But Rublev, despite a slightly disappointing showing in Rome where he lost in the second round to Hubert Hurkacz, is the man in form. His power off the ground, with the Russian more than capable of hitting winners off both the forehand and backhand side, should give him the edge in this hard-hitting clash.

Prediction: Rublev in 2

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