The ATP 250 in Buenos Aires has provided tennis fans with high-quality play all week long and Day 4 will surely not disappoint. Who will win and who will fall short? I give my best guesses below!
ATP Buenos Aires Day 4 Predictions
Pablo Andujar vs Gianluca Mager
Head to Head: 2-1 Andujar
Pablo Andujar had an emphatic return to the clay, beating Juan Ignacio Londero 6-3, 6-0. Andujar saved 9 of 10 break points on his serve, including all 6 in the second set. Gianluca Mager started off Buenos Aires with an impressive 7-6(5), 6-4 win over Salvatore Caruso. His first serve was firing, as he won 74% of his first serve points.
Andujar leads the head 2-1, winning all four sets they have played on clay. This match will come down to the quality of return that Andujar can produce on the Mager and whether Mager will be able to control the baseline with his heavy forehand. Andujar showed in the match with Londero that he is not going to give away a lot of free points on return. He won 58% of return points against Londero and while I consider Mager’s serve to be a bit better than Londero’s, it’s still very encouraging for the Spaniard. Mager is playing well, but expect Andujar to sneak this match out.
Prediction: Andujar in 3
Benoit Paire vs Francisco Cerundolo
Head to Head: never played
Benoit Paire finally won a match in 2021 last week in Cordoba. He defeated Nicolas Jarry in straight sets in the first round before falling to Federico Coria in the second round. Coria was able to grind Paire down from the baseline in that match. Francisco Cerundolo did well to qualify for this tournament. The Argentinian had to come back from a set down on two occasions in qualifying. In the first round, Cerundolo took on Coria and avenged his loss to him last week in Cordoba.
These two have never played before. Paire’s backhand is clearly his strength, while Cerundolo’s forehand is clearly his favorite shot. So, which player will be able to control the center of the court and use their strength more often? Paire has been a bit too inconsistent and, while he has good variety, he overuses it. They both played Coria recently and Cerundolo was able to have more success on serve compared to Paire. I trust Cerundolo more in this match and think his game is more sturdy at this point. Cerundolo moves on.
Prediction: Cerundolo in 2
Jaume Munar vs Frances Tiafoe
Head to Head: 1-0 Munar (not counting Next-Gen Finals)
Jaume Munar qualified for this tournament and then won in straight sets over Facundo Diaz Acosta in the first round. Munar’s 78% first serve’s made percentage was particularly important because he only won 35% of second serves. Frances Tiafoe had a strong start to his Golden Swing campaign, beating a weary Facundo Bagnis 6-1, 6-3. Tiafoe won 49% of his return points, really getting into the Bagnis service games.
Munar leads the head to head 1-0, having beaten Tiafoe in Barcelona a couple years ago. They also played in the Fast Four format at the Next Gen Finals and Munar won, but I don’t count that as a real match. Tiafoe will need to serve well and get a bunch of free points on his serve, as Munar will try to lengthen rallies and go after the Tiafoe legs. Tiafoe did win 81% of his first serve points and 67% of his second serve points in the first round against Bagnis, but Munar is a better returner than the Argentinian. Is Tiafoe ready for such a battle in his second match on clay of the season? I’m not so sure. Munar advances.
Prediction: Munar in 3
Lukas Klein vs Diego Schwartzman
Head to Head: never played
Another match, another Lukas Klein first serving clinic in Buenos Aires. Klein won 77% of his first serve points and was only broken once against a tough clay courter in Andrej Martin. Klein, who had to qualify for this tournament, is playing with excellent controlled aggression. Diego Schwartzman had a disappointing performance in Cordoba. After beating Marco Cecchinato, he fell in the quarterfinals to Albert Ramos. Schwartzman will be looking for a better performance here.
These two have never played before. Klein is serving well, but returning is Schwartzman’s strength. The Argentinian had some uncharacteristic unforced errors against Ramos and it’s certainly possible those will continue in this match. There’s a certain pressure to playing in one’s home country and Schwartzman feels that pressure. This match will be close. Klein’s aggressive baseline game will make Schwartzman feel a bit uncomfortable out there. But, at the end of the day, expect Schwartzman to force a bunch of errors out of Klein and for the Slovak to eventually crack.
Prediction: Schwartzman in 3