We have seen plenty of action as we head into the fifth Day at the ATP Gstaad. As we have reached the quarterfinals, there have been plenty of upsets; with the biggest one being Shapovalov crashing out in the second round in three sets. There are eight men in contention for four semifinal spots. Who will make it?
ATP Gstaad Quarterfinal Predictions
Laslo Djere vs Arthur Rinderknech
Head-to-Head: first meeting
Laslo Djere outlasted qualifier Zizou Bergs in three sets in a display of tenacity coupled with good serving. On the other side, we had Arthur Rinderknech coming on top against Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets during a convincing win.
Djere can be called an up-and-coming clay specialist if not already established. He has the uncanny ability to rally indefinitely without making an error, against the hardest hitters. Djere is serving remarkably well right now; especially the kick serve, which he hits ever so nicely. In the tournament till now, on the three setpoints he converted on serve, we saw that he went for the kick serve in all. His opponents thus far haven’t been able to handle the bounce when he nails the serve. Coming off a wonderful run to the semifinals at Hamburg, he will try to replicate the performance here.
Rinderknech blasted eight aces in his straight-set win over the seasoned Roberto Bautista Agut. He certainly has a bright future in front of him, with his crisp shots and a big serve. However, one of the elements leading to his win was the high error count from Bautista Agut. He won’t get many free points against Djere. We could see that, though Bautista never found his rhythm in the whole match, he came on top in the longer rallies. On this account, Rinderknech has better prospects on the faster grass, where the general rally length is less. On clay, Djere being better, he should advance to the semifinals after a hard-earned victory.
Prediction: Djere in 3
Cristian Garin vs Hugo Gaston
Head-to-Head: first meeting
Christian Garin scored a compelling win against Marc Polmans, giving away just three games in the match. Contrastingly, Hugo Gaston overcame fifth-seed Federico Delbonis in a long three-setter; he bageled Delbonis in the first, whereas the other two sets went to tiebreaks.
Hugo Gaston overcame Federico Delbonis with an enchanting display of crafty tennis in the second round. And though Gaston is a member of the “rather-small” section of tennis players, he surprised us with his hitting abilities. All that is good, but Gaston’s hitting length is around the service line. Any aggressive player will waste no time taking the opportunity and violently attack Gaston’s backhand with powerful approach shots. This is where Garin might not be able to capitalize due to his tendency to stay back.
Garin has a practice of standing far away behind the baseline on return and also while rallying. It takes away all the advantage he sets up by pushing the opponent deep. Where he should be coming forward with an approach to attack, he prefers to stay put at the baseline and tries to finish the point from there. Against an adaptable player like Gaston, this trait will turn into a weakness. Gaston will exploit it to maximum capacity with his drop-shot prowess. Garin was clinical against Polmans and troubled him by forcing him to play from behind. He will do the same against Gaston, only that Gaston already has a weapon up his sleeve. Gaston should bag the semifinal spot, but just barely.
Prediction: Gaston in 3
Vit Kopriva vs Mikael Ymer
Head-to-Head: first meeting
Vit Kopriva took out Denis Shapovalov in three sets to complete the biggest upset of the tournament. Mikael Ymer defeated Feliciano Lopez in three to book a quarterfinal birth.
Kopriva rallied from one set down to produce the biggest upset at the ATP Gstaad by showing the door the seed #1. The error count was unusually high from Shapovalov (especially on break points when it hurt the most) and he rushed to net mindlessly time and time again. Still, we cannot take credit away from Kopriva for his pinpoint serves and intensive sprints throughout the match. Kopriva just had to have patience and keep rallying; Shapovalov was helping generously from the other end with his ridiculous volley misses.
Ymer was looking in great touch in his second-round match against Lopez, except for a few errors. His forehand has developed a lot, and the way he adds that topspin with the control is pleasing to the eye. He also manages to hit at a very good depth off the forehand wing. Ymer produced excellent tennis under pressure to save two match points in the second set. The biggest takeaway is how much Ymer has matured in recent years. Though there is little difference between his and Kopriva’s level of play, it feels to me that Ymer has it in him to reach the semifinals here at Gstaad. It will be, by no means an easy match for any of them; but Ymer should be able to crack the Kopriva code.
Prediction: Ymer in 3
Casper Ruud vs Benoit Paire
Head-to-Head: Ruud 3-0 Paire
Casper Ruud defeated Dennis Novak in straight sets, with the second set going to a tiebreak. Benoit Paire won the first set against Tallon Griekspoor before Griekspoor retired.
Paire has found sort of a second wind for himself. His old charisma is back, and so are his drop shots. His backhand is looking more solid, and he is serving better too. Paire definitely deserves to be in the quarterfinals, noting the high-quality game he plays. Maybe even further, but he has met an opponent who can presently do no wrong on clay. Paire and Ruud have faced off each other thrice till now, and Ruud has won every single time. Their latest meeting came on 31st May, at the French Open. Paire is going to make Ruud work hard for his points, but will that be enough?
To say Ruud is in Scintillating form at the moment would be an understatement. Looking at his current matches, one might say that when Ruud is not sleeping, he is busy converting should-be backhands to forehands. That is pretty much all he has to do in order to secure a point right now, such is his court coverage. Still, he will have to be solid here, as Paire will seize every chance to attack the open forehand. That aside, he is moving well, hitting well, and most importantly, winning the right points. When Ruud is on the court, he dictates play as a rule. After Shapovalov’s shock exit, he is the highest seed now at the Gstaad ATP. Ruud should be able to overcome Paire despite the Frenchman gaining momentum.
Prediction: Ruud in 3
Main Photo from Getty.