Day 2 of the 2021 ATP Cup sees Germany, Greece, France, and Canada get their 2021 campaigns underway. With the schedule featuring two mouthwatering clashes in Germany against Canada and Italy against France, day 2 promises to produce some close matches, with ties that should go to a deciding doubles rubber. Here are my prediction for the matches on Day 2.
ATP Cup Day 2 Predictions
Greece vs Australia
The night session on Rod Laver Arena sees Australia looking to bounce back from last nights defeat against Spain. The predicted first match of the tie sees John Millman take on Michail Pervolarakis. The Australian was comprehensively out played by Pablo Carreno Busta in his opening singles match of the tournament, with the Australian perhaps falling into the trap of playing too defensively at the start of the match, allowing the Spaniard to dictate the points and gain confidence. I expect Millman to play with more intent from the start of the match, especially considering that his opponent is ranked at 462 in the world. Michail Pervolarakis spent the majority of last season playing Futures Tour events in Greece and Portugal and is not used to playing established ATP Tour players. I’m predicting a straight sets victory for Millman.
The second predicted singles match of the tie promises to be an entertaining one as Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on Alex de Minaur. De Minaur endured a disappointing three set defeat against Roberto Bautista Agut, especially considering he took the first set. However, the Spaniard showed his class in coming back to get the win. Tsitsipas will provide a different test for the Australian, possessing more firepower than the Spaniard. One area I will be paying attention to is the Greek’s return game, where there were some improvements made last season. I think there is potential for Tsitsipas to try and put pressure on the Australian’s service games, and I am predicting him to win in two tight sets. Although the lineup for the deciding doubles rubber is uncertain, I think Australia have more experience and depth in their squad to pull through.
Match Prediction: Australia 2-1
Predicted Singles Predictions:
Millman over Pervolarakis in 2
Tsitsipas over De Minaur in 2
Italy vs France
The day session match on John Cain Arena should feature plenty of entertaining shotmaking. Italy came back from Fabio Fognini’s shock defeat to Dennis Novak to turn its first tie around, with Matteo Berretini overpowering Dominic Thiem before Fognini and Berrettini teamed up to defeat Novak and Thiem in the doubles. The expected first match of the day is Fognini against Benoit Paire. Both player can produce incredible shotson their day. However, both struggle to control their emotions on the court. Fognini wrote recently in his autobiography that he has been struggling with his serve, and those struggles were on full display in his opening match. However, the Italian possesses a powerful baseline game with a particularly effective two-handed backhand. Paire is a great player to watch, and there is never a dull match with him. However, despite all his talent, I think Paire could achieve more if he could improve his mentality and temperament. I think this will be a three set match, with the Italian getting the win.
The second predicted match of the tie sees Matteo Berrettini against Gael Monfils. The Italian will be brimming with confidence following his emphatic victory over Dominic Thiem and the Italian’s lethal serve and forehand combination will prove troublesome for Monfils. The Frenchman has suffered with injury, and will be looking to be injury free in 2021. Monfils is one of the best movers in the game and has a solid baseline game. This should prove to be a close match, if both players can produce their best tennis, however I think the Italian’s firepower will see him through in three sets. However, I think France will win the doubles rubber given that they are most likely to use Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
Match Prediction: Italy 2-1
Predicted Singles Match Predictions:
Fognini over Paire in 3
Berrettini over Monfils in 3
Russia vs Japan
The night session match on John Cain Arena features arguably the team with the biggest squad depth in Russia taking on Japan. The predicted first singles match of the day sees Andrey Rublev taking on Yoshihito Nishioka. Rublev produced a brilliant performance against Argentina dispatching Guido Pella for the loss of only three games. The Russian made big strides on the ATP Tour last season, qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time, and will be looking to go deeper at thew Grand slams in 2021. Nishioka has established himself as a top 100 player and pushed Andy Murray to a five set epic in the opening round of last years US Open. However, the Japanese player lacks the firepower or any real weapons to consistently trouble a player of Rublev’s ranking and calibre. I’m predicting a straight sets win for the Russian.
The second expected singles match of the day sees Daniil Medvedev against Kei Nishikori. Medvedev produced flashes of brilliance in yesterdays straight sets victory over Diego Schwartzman. However, he was broken a couple of times by the Argentine and made a number of unforced errors. The Russian will be looking to start the 2021 season in a similar vein to how he finished his 2020 season, with back to back titles in Paris and London. Nishikori has had his injury troubles over the past couple of seasons. However, the Japanese player is still a force to be reckoned with, possessing one of the best return games on the tour. I think this has the potential to be a close match. However, I think that Medvedev will get the win in two tight sets.
The doubles could go either way and it is difficult to predict due to not knowing the lineups, however, with the stronger singles players, along with Aslan Karatsev who was in great form on the ATP Challenger Tour last season, I think the Russians will make it a clean sweep.
Match Prediction: Russia 3-0
Predicted Singles Match Predictions:
Rublev over Nishioka in 2
Medvedev over Nishikori in 2
Germany vs Canada
The day session tie on Rod Laver Arena features two evenly matched teams. The predicted singles matches for the tie are Jan-Lennard Struff vs Milos Raonic followed by Alexander Zverev vs Denis Shapovalov. Raonic recorded his first win of the season yesterday against Dusan Lajovic and was particularly dominant on his serve. However, the Canadian showed his versatility on the court, having great success at coming to the net to finish points off as well as using his powerful forehand down the line to good affect. However, one area of his game where the Canadian will be looking to improve upon is his break point conversion rate. Whilst Raonic put pressure on pretty much every Lajovic service game, he made things more difficult for himself by missing some routine returns. Raonic’s return game will be under more scrutiny today against Struff, due to the German’s big serve, which is backed up by a lethal forehand. The German has risen up to the ATP rankings over the past couple of seasons. I’m predicting this one to go to three sets, with Raonic just having the edge.
The expected second match of the day should also prove to be a close one. The main area of interest will be whether Alexander Zverev has put to bed his second serve troubles that plagued him throughout last season over the off season. Zverev is perhaps subject to more scrutiny than most players due to his undoubted potential, possessing one of the best two handed backhands on the tour, along with a first serve that gains him many free points. Denis Shapovalov lost both his matches yesterday, but he was able to test Djokovic falling in two tight sets. The sky is the limit for the Canadian in terms of what he can achieve in the game, and I liken his game style to be similar to Stan Wawrinka, possessing thunderous ground strokes that can punch holes through most players on the tour, and on his day he is one of the most entertaining players to watch. However, he does have a tendency to spray the ball at times, losing control over his game.
If Shapovalov wants to be a consistent member of the top 10, he will have to find a way to eradicate these from his game. However, I am predicting this to be a tight three set match, with Zverev pulling through in three sets. With the advantage of having Kevin Kraweitz and Andreas Mies as an established doubles pairing, Germany will be the favourites to prevail in the deciding doubles match.
Match Prediction: Germany 2-1
Predicted Singles Predictions:
Raonic over Struff in 3
Zverev over Shapovalov in 3
Main Photo from Getty.