ATP Cologne Championships Day 1 Predictions Including Marin Cilic vs Steve Johnson

Marin Cilic in action ahead of the ATP Cologne Championships
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The dust may barely have settled after the ATP Cologne Indoors, where Alexander Zverev beat Felix Auger-Aliassime in the final on Sunday, but the action will continue at the Lanxess Arena where the ATP Cologne Championships begins this week. As ever, we here at the LWOS tennis department will be offering our predictions for every match on the slate, including Alexei Popyrin vs Adrian Mannarino. But who will reach the second round?

ATP Cologne Championships Day One Predictions

Yoshihito Nishioka vs Kyle Edmund

Head-to-head: Edmund 4-1 Nishioka

This could well prove to the match to watch on day one at the ATP Cologne Championships. Kyle Edmund has struggled since the restart, with his only win since August coming over Alexander Bublik in the first round at the US Open. But he has been ranked inside the world’s top 15 for a reason and it will surely be only a matter of time before he gets back on track. However, he may need to find his best tennis, and quickly, when he comes up against Yoshihito Nishioka.

The Japanese did not accomplish much during the clay-court swing, but for a player so ill at ease on the ‘terre battue’ a record of 2-4 is certainly not abject. Still he would be glad to be back on his favoured hard courts, where his excellent court coverage allows him to frustrate opponents. That said, the courts in Cologne look to be playing slowly, which should give Edmund plenty of time to wind up his big forehand. And if he can bring that into play regularly, this is a match he should be winning.

Prediction: Edmund in 3
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Miomir Kecmanovic vs Sumit Nagal

Head-to-head: first meeting

Miomir Kecmanovic has posted some fine results over the last 18 months, not least in winning his first title in Kitzbuhel, but one still feels that there is room for improvement from the Serb, particularly in terms of his consistency. That much was in evidence last week at the St Petersburg Open, where he followed a fine 6-3 7-6 win over Mikhail Kukushkin in the first round with a disappointing three-set defeat to Cameron Norrie in the second.

But he should feel confident about his chances here. Sumit Nagal, who last week was in action on the clay in Sardinia, played well to beat Norbert Gombos in the first round of qualifying in Cologne, but was outclassed by Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the final round. He was awarded a reprieve as a lucky loser, but it is hard to see him taking advantage of it. Neither man boasts massive firepower, but Kecmanovic’s groundstrokes are that much more solid and consistent than the Indian’s.

Prediction: Kecmanovic in 2
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Marin Cilic vs Steve Johnson

Head-to-head: Cilic 5-0 Johnson

Marin Cilic appears to be in terminal decline, with the Croatian having struggled badly since losing from two-sets up to Guido Pella in the second round at Wimbledon in 2018. That much was made painfully clear by his efforts in Cologne last week. He did manage to scrape past Marcos Giron in his opener, but Cilic was then beaten in a deciding tiebreak by Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the round of 16. He certainly then a shadow of the man once ranked world #3.

Fortunately for Cilic, Steve Johnson also has the look of a player who is now past his best. The American has won just five matches at tour-level this season and has slipped out of the top 70. He has also failed to beat Cilic in five previous meetings, winning just one of the 13 sets they have contested. That inspires little faith in his ability to up end the Croatian here, particularly as the conditions in Cologne should favour the more powerful Cilic.

Prediction: Cilic in 2

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