ATP Cologne Indoors Day 4 Predictions, Including Alexander Zverev vs Fernando Verdasco

Alexander Zverev in action at the ATP Cologne Indoors
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After an entertaining start to the week at the ATP Cologne Indoors, the big guns are set to enter the fray on Thursday, with four intriguing second-round matches on the slate in Germany. As ever, we here at the LWOS tennis department will be offering our predictions for every match on the schedule. But who will book their place in the quarterfinals?

ATP Cologne Indoors Day Four Predictions

Gilles Simon vs Roberto Bautista Agut

Head-to-head: Simon 5-1 Bautista Agut

Gilles Simon has clearly had Roberto Bautista Agut’s number in the past, winning all five of their previous hard-court matches. But his last win over the Spaniard came over two-and-a-half years ago. And considering the directions their respective careers have gone in since, it would probably be wise not to read too much into that lopsided head-to-head. Simon, despite his comprehensive 6-0 6-3 win over Marton Fucsovics, has been struggling badly.

His ranking has slipped outside the top 50, a decline that is reflected in his 8-8 record for the season and, in truth, Fucsovics was the cause of his own downfall at the ATP Cologne Indoors. Unlike the Hungarian, Bautista Agut will not beat himself. Particularly on a slow indoor hard court. Expect plenty of long baseline rallies, with both Simon and Bautista Agut counter-punchers by nature, but the Spaniard is faster and his groundstrokes that much more penetrating than the 35-year-old Simon’s.

Prediction: Bautista Agut in 2
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Marin Cilic vs Alejandro Davidovich Fokina

Head-to-head: first meeting

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina has been playing a more disciplined brand of tennis in recent weeks. His practices with Novak Djokovic in Marbella have apparently inspired the 21-year-old towards a greater patience and resilience. He certainly looked sharp at the business end in his 6-4 7-5 win over Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori. He may well need to muster such composure again when he takes on Marin Cilic, even if the Croatian is not the force he once was.

Cilic managed to negotiate a tough first-round test against former-NCAA champion Marcos Giron, saving 15 of the 18 break points created by the American in a hard-fought 6-2 4-6 6-3 win. His serve bailed him out of trouble more than once in the first round and he will need another good day at the line to stand a chance here. But Davidovich Fokina’s advantage off the ground may well prove to be insurmountable for the former-world #3. Expect the Spaniard to pull off the upset.

Prediction: Davidovich Fokina in 3
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Henri Laaksonen vs Felix Auger-Aliassime

Head-to-head: Auger-Aliassime 1-0 Laaksonen

What has happened to Felix Auger-Aliassime, the sure-fire star who was supposed to take the world by storm? So far not much. Nothing extraordinary, at any rate. But progress isn’t linear and the young Canadian’s recent struggles almost certainly aren’t terminal. Even the great Rafael Nadal ended his breakout 2003 season with a five-match losing streak. So whilst Auger-Aliassime may have lost four of his last five matches, don’t expect him to take too long to turn things around.

That said, he will have his work cut out for him here. Henri Laaksonen will surely be full of confidence, having already won three matches at the ATP Cologne Indoors after coming through the qualifying and beating Daniel Altmaier in the first round. Auger-Aliassime, in contrast, has only played one doubles match, which he lost. But, he has had two weeks to clear his mind since losing in the first round in Paris, and to work on his forehand. It may not be pretty, but expect the 20-year-old to prevail.

Prediction: Auger-Aliassime in 3
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Alexander Zverev vs Fernando Verdasco

Head-to-head: Zverev 3-2 Verdasco

There are two conflicting trends at work here for top seed Alexander Zverev. Since the start of his breakout campaign in 2017, Zverev has posted a commendable 18-6 record in Germany, winning back-to-back titles at the Bavarian International and reaching the final at the Halle Open. However, despite enjoying, by a distance, the best year of his career so far at the Grand Slams, the German has underperformed on the regular ATP Tour, winning just one of the six matches he has played.

Fortunately for Zverev, he has beaten Fernando Verdasco handily on this surface twice in the last year, losing only 12 games in five sets. That is as much a testament to the Spaniard’s struggles as Zverev’s successes, with Verdasco looking a shadow of the player who was once ranked world #7. He did beat Andy Murray in straight-sets in the first round, but the Scot is hardly a man in form. Even if Zverev is not at his best, he should have enough to account for Verdasco.

Prediction: Zverev in 2

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