ATP Cologne Day 3 Predictions, Including Benoit Paire vs Dennis Novak

Benoit Paire in action ahead of the ATP Cologne Indoors

A recent spike in COVID-19 cases in North Rhine-Westphalia has prompted the tournament organisers to ban fans from attending the ATP Cologne Indoors from Wednesday onwards. Fortunately, the tennis will continue. But who will book their place in the quarterfinals?

ATP Cologne Indoors Day Three Predictions

Oscar Otte vs Radu Albot

Head-to-head: first meeting

Radu Albot was enduring a miserable 2020, losing his first 11 matches of the season, before finally ending his long barren streak with wins in the qualifying in Hamburg and at the French Open. He continued his small-scale renaissance with his third win in as many tournaments when he beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-2 4-6 6-2 in the first round at the ATP Cologne Indoors. Unfortunately, he is now set to face a man in the form of his life in the shape of Oscar Otte.

Since the season resumed, the German has compiled an impressive 9-3 record at Challenger-level and he has maintained his fine form so far in Cologne, beating Dominik Koepfer and Marc Polmans in the qualifying before accounting for Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round, winning six sets and dropping just one (in a tiebreak). Albot may be the higher-ranked man and the favourite when the numbers are crunched, but disregard the algorithm this time and trust the eye.

Prediction: Otte in 2
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Hubert Hurkacz vs Mischa Zverev

Head-to-head: first meeting

For certain players, the consecutive ATP events in Cologne hold greater significance than for the majority of their peers. Mischa Zverev is apparently one such player. The German, who has seen his ranking collapse to world #268, was last in action playing at Futures-level in Portugal. But he was awarded a wildcard into the main draw at the ATP Cologne Indoors and so far he has looked a man determined to take advantage of his good fortune.

Competing with a real sense of urgency and intensity, Zverev picked up his best win for two years by beating John Millman in straight-sets, and a deep run here is likely to propel him back into the top 200. But he faces a tough test against Hubert Hurkacz. The Pole has struggled for consistency this season, but the slow indoor hard courts in Cologne should suit his game. Zverev will look to keep his opponent off balance with regular forays to the net, but don’t expect it to pay off for the German.

Prediction: Hurkacz in 2
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Steve Johnson vs Lloyd Harris

Head-to-head: Johnson 1-0 Harris

Steve Johnson mustered an impressive comeback in the first round up against the fifth seed Filip Krajinovic, winning 3-6 6-4 6-4, despite losing 51% of the points. Krajinovic will doubtless look at it as a match he should have won, but he was not clinical enough when it mattered most, crucially wasting seven of the nine break points he created. Johnson does also deserve credit for how well he played when under pressure, however, which he would do well to repeat against Lloyd Harris.

The South African also came through a tough first-round encounter, edging out Kyle Edmund 7-5 7-6. In the first set, Harris was able to withstand significant pressure from Edmund, saving nine of the 11 break points the Briton forced before sealing it with a late, decisive break himself. The second was dominated by the server, with neither man conceding a break point, but it was Harris who held his nerve in the tiebreak. And in another serve-dominated affair, expect the South African to emerge the victor again.

Prediction: Harris in 3
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Benoit Paire vs Dennis Novak

Head-to-head: Paire 1-0 Novak

Forget about the tennis for a moment. Benoit Paire has had a miserable time of things since the season resumed in August, unfortunately making headlines for all the wrong reasons. At the US Open, the Frenchman tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing him to withdraw from that tournament and he has struggled to find his feet since. Indeed, prior to his home Slam in Paris, the Frenchman said that he just wanted to finish the season and go home.

Thus, although he did beat his second-round opponent Dennis Novak in their only previous meeting, he seems unlikely to repeat the feat at the ATP Cologne Indoors. The Austrian has been in good form lately and looked sharp in beating Jordan Thompson 6-3 6-3 in the first round. Paire, in contrast, does not look like he is in the right mindset to compete at the highest level. Expect Novak, who will surely sense his opportunity, to take advantage.

Prediction: Novak in 3

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