The final stop before Roland Garros has a final eight including a blockbuster quarterfinal at the ATP Hamburg Open. Last year’s runner-up Andrey Rublev faces fourth seed Bautista Agut in the pick of Friday’s matches.
We predict all four matches on schedule, but who will advance to the semifinals?
ATP Hamburg Open Quarterfinals Predictions
Roberto Bautista Agut vs Andrey Rublev
Head-to-head: Bautista Agut 2-1 Rublev
It wasn’t a vintage performance by Roberto Bautista Agut in his second round match on Wednesday night, but the tenacious Spaniard eventually got the job done as he rallied from a break down in the third set to end the fairytale fortnight of German hopeful Dominik Koepfer.
The World No.11 is fresh from celebrating the birth of his first child ten days ago, a momentous occasion which saw him miss the Rome Masters last week. However, he has been a real giantkiller this week, firstly, ending Nikoloz Basilashvili’s two-year reign in Hamburg on his first outing on clay and the aforementioned three-set win over an in-form Koepfer. His quarterfinal opponent will be last year’s runner-up Andrey Rublev.
The Russian won the battle between two former junior Roland Garros champions when he beat American qualifier Tommy Paul in a seesaw encounter to book his spot in the last eight. It was his 22nd match-win of the season (second only to Novak Djokovic), and he is on course to win his first title at the Hamburg Open.
Bautista Agut will need to shore up his serving numbers massively to keep Rublev at bay. He was broken six times by Koepfer in his previous match and his second serve was a little of 50%. The Spaniard will be well aware of the Russian’s unrelenting pace off both wings. Agut though is no slouch when it comes to baseline exchanges and he thrives against power-hitting, error-prone players – something very much relatable to Rublev.
Prediction: Bautista Agut in 3
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Dusan Lajovic
Head-to-head: Tsitsipas 2-1 Lajovic
Stefanos Tsitsipas arrived in Hamburg with his confidence torn to shreds. The Greek star suffered a truly incredible collapse in his US Open third round defeat to Borna Coric and it seemed the wounds were still sore and fresh when he took to the court in Rome last week. Tsitsipas fell in three sets to the highly-talented young Italian Jannik Sinner in the first round, but he has finally got his clay-court campaign ticking in the right direction this week. He defeated British No.1 Dan Evans and Uruguay’s seasoned clay-court specialist Pablo Cuevas in his first two matches, and remarkably without dropping a service game.
His next assignment will come in the shape of Dusan Lajovic. The Serbian No.2 has been in superb form in Hamburg, beating Adrian Mannarino 6-4 6-1 in the first round before taming big-hitting Russian Karen Khachanov 6-1 6-2 on Thursday. Lajovic was slow off the blocks post-shutdown, failing to win a match at the Cincinnati Masters and the US Open. He followed that sequence with another first round exit in Kitzbuhel. He has a found another gear in the past couple weeks, winning back-to-back matches in Rome where he made the third round and now at the Hamburg Open, where he has dropped a mere eight games en route to the quarterfinals.
Lajovic is an astute baseliner and certainly a better player now than the last time he faced off against the Greek on clay. But the outcome here rests firmly on Tsitsipas’ racket. If he can keep his serve impregnable and attack the Lajovic backhand, expect him to advance into the semifinals.
Prediction: Tsitsipas in 2
Cristian Garin vs Alexander Bublik
Head-to-head: first meeting
Cristian Garin was riding on a nine-match winning streak when the tour was brought to an abrupt halt by the coronavirus pandemic. The Chilean captured two titles during the Golden swing in South America in February, and broke into the Top 20 of the ATP rankings for the first time. He tried to recapture that good form when tennis resumed last month, but he failed to make any imprint in the USA, going 1-2 in Cincinnati and the US Open. It took another first round defeat, this time on clay at the Rome Masters, to finally spark his excellent form pre-lockdown. He crushed Kei Nishikori 6-0 6-3 in Hamburg before beating Yannick Hanfmann in straight sets in a match that he momentarily lost control of.
The man from Arica will come up against surprise quarterfinalist Alexander Bublik. The flamboyant Kazakhstani has exceeded everyone’s expectations this week in a run that saw him beat Albert Ramos Vinolas and usurp Felix Auger-Aliassime. The 21-year-old is making the most of his second chance after he lost in the final round of qualifying to Tommy Paul before gaining a spot into the main draw as a lucky loser.
Bublik’s serve and his deep, powerful forehand have the potential to do massive damage. However, he will come up against one of tour’s in-from players on the surface. Garin has been ranked as high as World No.18 this year (currently No.22), a further illustration there are not many holes in his game. While an upset is entirely possible, it is hard to go against the Chilean here.
Prediction: Garin in 2
Casper Ruud vs Ugo Humbert
Head-to-head: Ruud 0-1 Humbert
Ugo Humbert backed up his career-best win over Daniil Medvedev with another mirror scoreline to beat Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely 6-4 6-3. Under the gazing eyes of his mother, the 22-year-old has found an extra gear to perform and continues his fine run of form on the European clay. Humbert will certainly be one of France’s biggest prospects at the upcoming French Open, but could he go to Paris as Hamburg champion? There are still a handful of matches to negotiate, starting with his quarterfinal against Casper Ruud.
The shaggy-haired Norwegian has compiled a solid 8-3 win-loss record since the tour’s resumption, aided by his run to the Rome semifinals – his very first at Masters 1000 level, surpassing the record previously set by his father Christian who reached the quarterfinals at Foro Italico in 1997. The 21-year-old has shown that milestone in the Italian capital was not a one-off, benefitting from a retirement in the first round in Hamburg against Benoit Paire and dispatching Fabio Fognini with embarrassing ease.
Both players have been on a real tear and needless to say neither will take defeat lightly. Ruud brings the heavier topspin with his pacey forehand and patience in point construction. Humbert can mix things up with his booming serve and flat cross-court forehand which wreaked havoc in Medvedev’s game. This is a straight shootout that could go either way and Humbert might just shade it.
Prediction: Humbert in 3