The first round will be completed on Day 2 of the 2021 ATP Hamburg European Open. Many Germans will take the court, including the seventh seed Jan-Lennard Struff, who takes on Laslo Djere. Who do you think will advance? We predict four matches in this article, and the other four in a separate article.
ATP Hamburg Day 2 Predictions
Juan Pablo Varillas vs Sumit Nagal
Head-to-head: Nagal 2-0
This is a very good chance for both. While Sumit Nagal leads the head-to-head series, one of those matches came three years ago when Juan Pablo Varillas wasn’t yet established as a contender for Challenger Tour titles. Their other clash was much closer and looking at how they’ve been faring this season, the Peruvian has been doing a lot better. Varillas made a tour-level quarterfinal at Santiago, and captured a Challenger title in Biella. On top of that, he also managed a successful qualifying campaign here, mounting a comeback against Sebastian Baez in the final round.
Meanwhile, Nagal has been up and down, and recently much more often in the latter category. A couple of days ago he was upset by German wildcard Marvin Moller at the Braunschweig Challenger, and only managed to qualify for this event through a lucky loser spot, going out to Zhizhen Zhang. Nagal might have won both their previous meetings but in his current form, it’s going to be a tough task to make it a hat-trick.
Prediction: Varillas in 3
Carlos Taberner vs Feliciano Lopez
Head-to-head: First meeting
Playing professional tennis at 39 years old doesn’t come easy, and with Feliciano Lopez not really in his element on clay courts, he will be facing an uphill battle here. The Spaniard can still outfox a lot of the younger opponents with his backhand slice and unusual playstyle, but he will need to break up the rhythm a lot to have a chance at someone like Carlos Taberner. His younger compatriot loves grinding and he should be able to extend the rallies enough to make Lopez’s baseline game leak errors.
Prediction: Taberner in 3
Maximilian Marterer vs Dominik Koepfer
Head-to-head: Marterer 2-0
Maximilian Marterer won their only meeting on clay in Kitzbuhel last year, but Dominik Koepfer has been really proving he can be a mainstay at Tour-level in recent months. The German is posting very solid results and on average, playing against much better opponents than his younger compatriot. They will both be coming with a little bit of momentum, Marterer from the qualifying campaign, Koepfer from two wins in the German Bundesliga. This might be where the higher-ranked player starts turning the head-to-head around.
Prediction: Koepfer in 2
Laslo Djere vs Jan-Lennard Struff
Head-to-head: Struff 2-0
The head-to-head won’t matter much here, since neither of their previous meetings took place on clay, which is basically the only surface Laslo Djere has major achievements on. It makes this match really tough to predict, especially as the level of both can vary a lot between days. Jan-Lennard Struff played and won two matches in the German Bundesliga last week, although neither of the wins can be called particularly impressive. That tiny bit of match practice on clay after grass might shift it in his favor, but it should be very tight.
Prediction: Struff in 3
Main Photo from Getty.