Another day of the European court season, and this time it’s the ATP Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. Tuesday led to both exciting 17-year-olds Carlos Alcaraz and Holger Rune losing tight matches. Wednesday features fellow youngsters Felix Auger-Aliassime and Lorenzo Musetti going at it in what could be a blockbuster match.
We predict all of Wednesday’s matches. Three of them are in this article, and we have two more articles. One features Ilya Ivashka vs Rafael Nadal and the other headlines Juame Munar vs Stefanos Tsitsipas.
ATP Barcelona Open Day 3 Predictions
Adrian Mannarino vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas
Head-to-head: Ramos-Vinolas 4-3
The pair have played seven times in the past, and three have been on hard courts and the other four on clay. I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that the Frenchman has won all three meeting on the faster surface whilst the Spaniard has come out victorious in every match on the dirt, including a straight sets win at Roland Garros last year. Ramos-Vinolas has already made two semifinals and a final this year on clay. Despite a long tricky opening match against 17-year-old Holger Rune, it’s hard to see this going Mannarino’s way, especially with his gamestyle not suited to slower, higher-bouncing conditions.
Prediction: Ramos-Vinolas in 2
Alexander Bublik vs Alex De Minaur
Head-to-head: De Minaur 1-0
It’s sort of hard to believe Bublik is still in Barcelona. After screaming many times in his opening match about how much he hates the surface, he somehow managed to overcome Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina from a set down, ironically the man who beat De Minaur last week in Monte-Carlo. When you look at the Australian’s game you would actually think it’s somewhat suited to the clay, he moves great and can outlast most in long grueling rallies but the reality of things is very different. In fact his results are so bad on clay he’s lost his last seven ATP matches on the surface, make that 11 if you count Davis Cup and Challenger matches too. Despite how much Bublik may claim he hates clay, he’s nowhere near as bad as De Minaur on it.
Prediction: Bublik in 2
Pablo Carreno Busta vs Jordan Thompson
Just like his compatriot De Minaur mentioned above, Thompson is yet another Aussie who struggles on the clay. He earned a decent win over Richard Gasquet in a final set tiebreak in the opening round, but it’s sad to admit the Gasquet on tour these days is only a shadow of his former self. Carreno Busta is, to put it lightly, a far better player, especially on this surface. He is in great form after winning the title in Marbella two weeks ago and had match point to make the quarterfinals in Monte-Carlo last week. Thompson’s only chance is hoping Carreno Busta is somewhat fatigued after all the tennis he’s played the past few weeks, but that’s unlikely after a few days off for the Spaniard.
Prediction: Carreno Busta in 2
Felix-Auger Aliassime vs Lorenzo Musetti
No doubt the match of the round, the 19-year-old Italian against the 20-year-old Canadian. Musetti has already shown us in his short career that he has the game to contend on the surface, with wins over last week’s semifinalist Dan Evans and 2015 Roland Garros champion Stan Wawrinka. Auger-Aliassime, on the other hand, despite a final in Brazil a few years back, isn’t the most suited to the clay. There’s no doubt he also has the game, especially with his killer topspin forehand, to be great on clay. With Rafael Nadal’s uncle now coaching the young Canadian, there’s no question in my mind that the 20-year-old will finally become the player we all thought he would many years ago. A win here would be the first step into doing so under Toni Nadal.
Prediction: Auger-Aliassime in 3
Main Photo from Getty.