Who will advance into the second round?
ATP Hamburg European Open Day 2 Predictions
Roberto Bautista Agut vs Nikoloz Basilashvili
Head-to-head: Bautista Agut 2-1 Basilashvili
This should be a classic match-up of offense against defense. Basilashvili is a clean ball striker especially when his game is firing on all cylinders, but he is also synonymous for throwing in the towel with a series of erratic performances at times. However, there is the mystique about Hamburg that seems to get the best out of the Georgian. He has a phenomenal record on these parts (10-1), capturing the last two titles at the event. Expect the defending champion to keep the three-peat dream alive.
Prediction: Basilashvili in 3
Karen Khachanov vs Jan-Lennard Struff
Head-to-head: Khachanov vs Struff
Neither Khachanov nor Struff had a particularly encouraging start to the clay-court swing, as both failed to scale the first hurdle in Rome. This is a real toss-up between two power-hitters to consolidate momentum ahead of the French Open. The Russian is a former French Open quarterfinalist and possesses raw power, and when he finds his range he can hit through anyone. Struff certainly does not lack in the power department, but on clay his movement and court coverage are limited.
Prediction: Khachanov in 3
Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Lorenzo Sonego
Head-to-head: first meeting
Auger-Aliassime’s rise in the last 18 months has been nothing short of meteoric. However, despite enjoying a breakthrough year in 2019 in which he registered 38 match wins in his first season on the senior tour, he struggled to find his footing once the page turned to the early part of 2020.
He went 3-4 between the ATP Cup and Adelaide, and was beaten by then-World No.256 Ernests Gulbis in the first round of the Australian Open. The Canadian did play exceptionally well during the brief indoor hard-court season in February in which he made back-to-back finals, but continued to stumble at the last hurdle.
The 20-year-old lost in Rotterdam and Marseille finals, and worryingly he is yet win a single set in the five final matches he has contested in his career. He is certainly going to have better days, and despite losing in the first round of Rome Masters, he still possesses a decent record on clay from the last 12 months. He went 12-8 last year on the surface, and made his maiden ATP tour final on the clay courts of Rio and also reached the final in Lyon just before the French Open. This will be a test for Auger-Aliassime against a player who naturally prefers to be on clay than fast hard courts. The Canadian though should have a slight edge in a battle between two pure baseliners.
Prediction: Auger-Aliassime in 2
Dusan Lajovic vs Adrian Mannarino
Head-to-head: Lajovic 2-1 Mannarino
It was always going to be a big ask for Dusan Lajovic to repeat the thrills of his glorious 2019 season in which he won his first ATP title and reached a first Masters 1000 final at the Monte Carlo Masters. And with COVID-19 sweeping nearly half of the tennis calendar, the Serbian No.2 missed out on the chance to defend his title won in Umag. But under the circumstances, it has been a decent year for Lajovic who was instrumental aling with Djokovic, in steering Team Serbia to win the inaugural ATP Cup in January. He comes to Hamburg on the back of a respectable third round showing in Rome where he lost to Nadal in straight sets, and faces Frances’s Adrian Mannarino on Tuesday.
The left-hander had his very own career milestone last year, snapping a six-match losing streak in ATP tour finals to win his maiden ATP title on the lawns of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Mannarino’s form during the early part of 2020 was apalling, winnig two matches between Doha and Acapulco. He did fare arginally better at the US Open, where reached the third round and briefly troubled Alexander Zverev in a four-set defeat.
Matches between these two have been tight, since this is their first meeting on clay, expect the accomplished Lajovic to have the upper hand.
Prediction: Lajovic in 3
Main Photo from Getty.