Day 4 of the ATP Murray River Open is here! It’s been an exciting week of tennis so far in Melbourne, and it’s sure to continue with more scintillating matches on Day 4! Who will win and who will fall short? Read on for my best guesses! I’m predicting all eight matches, four in this article and four in a separate article.
Editor’s Note: All play on Thursday has been postponed due to a positive COVID test by a hotel employee. We are offering predictions for the matches originally scheduled for Thursday under the assumption they will be played Friday or a later date. We will update this post as necessary if the situation changes.
ATP Murray River Open Day 4 Predictions
Alexei Popyrin vs Grigor Dimitrov
Head to Head: never played
Alexei Popyrin is having a great week in Melbourne. He beat Tommy Paul in straight sets in his previous match after surviving a tough first round encounter with Borna Gojo. Grigor Dimitrov has also started out the Murray River Open strong. Dimitrov comfortably took down Andrew Harris in his first match of the tournament.
These two have never played before. Popyrin is playing really good tennis right now. He’s going to be able to hang at the baseline with Dimitrov. However, Dimitrov has such great versatility to his game that Popyrin just doesn’t have at this point in his career. In addition, Dimitrov is just at another level compared to Popyrin, when it comes to hitting his spots. Dimitrov advances.
Prediction: Dimitrov in 2
Jiri Vesely vs Ricardas Berankis
Head to Head: tied 1-1
Jiri Vesely recovered from a set-and-a-break down against Casper Ruud to survive and reach this match against Berankis. Vesely had to save two match points in the process. Ricardas Berankis hasn’t lost a set yet this tournament. After an easy win over Sumit Nagal in the first round, he won a tight straight sets match over Jason Kubler in the second round.
The head to head is tied 1-1, with both matches going into a deciding set. Vesely has a huge lefty serve and tries to play with controlled aggression. Berankis’ game isn’t as big as Vesely’s, but he does a great job holding onto control of the baseline. Berankis has won more easily compared to Vesely, but has played weaker competition. Having watched their previous matchup, it was striking how uncomfortable the power of Vesely made Berankis. Vesely gets it done.
Prediction: Vesely in 3
Jeremy Chardy vs Taylor Fritz
Head to Head: 1-0 Fritz
Jeremy Chardy continues his hot start to the season. The Frenchman comfortably beat Gilles Simon to set up this showdown with Fritz. Taylor Fritz easily beat Federico Coria in his first match of the season, The American had way too much power for Coria.
Fritz leads the head to head 1-0, having beaten Chardy on a hard court in Acapulco in 2016. Fritz and Chardy both rely on huge first serves and penetrating forehands. Chardy is better at the net, but Fritz has the edge from the baseline. This should be a very close match, but I think Fritz, after stagnating a bit, is back on the rise. Fritz has just enough power in his arsenal to squeak by Chardy.
Prediction: Fritz in 3
Stan Wawrinka vs Alex Bolt
Head to Head: never played
Stan Wawrinka recovered from a set deficit to beat Mikhail Kukushkin in his first match of the Murray River Open. Wawrinka was definitely rusty in the first set, but seemed to regain his form as the match went on. Alex Bolt picked up another impressive victory in the second round of this tournament, taking out Mackenzie McDonald in a close second round match. This was after a three-set win over compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis in the first round.
These two have never played before. Wawrinka is clearly the more accomplished player. He serves huge and hits a big forehand and one-handed backhand. He controls the court well and knows when to come to the net. Bolt has a nice lefty serve and tries to really emphasize a head forehand, but Wawrinka’s chip return will neutralize his serve fairly effectively and the Swiss has a big advantage from the baseline. Wawrinka wins.
Prediction: Wawrinka in 2
Main Photo from Getty.