After a week of high quality clay court tennis on the clay courts of ATP Umag, the semifinal lineup has finally been set. With both semifinals featuring a contrast between youth and experience, it will be interesting to see if a NextGen player can come through and make their first ATP Title final. Or will Richard Gasquet or top seed Albert Ramos Vinolas stamp their authority in the latter stages of the event. Here are my predictions for Saturday’s semifinals.
ATP Umag Semifinals Predictions
Daniel Altmaier vs Richard Gasquet
Head to Head: 1-0 Gasquet
Daniel Altmaier has played well above his current ranking of 152 in the world this week. The German has been in good form on the clay recently, winning the ATP Challenger event in Braunschweig without dropping a set. Despite losing in his opening round match in Hamburg last week, Altmaier put in an impressive performance against Filip Krajinovic, losing in a hard fought three set match. Altmaier recorded the win of his career in the quarterfinals beating Dusan Lajovic in straight sets.
Richard Gasquet has struggled to find consistent form on the ATP Tour this season. The Frenchman’s best result came the week before Roland Garros in Lyon, where he reached the quarterfinals. However, in the Grand Slams, it is is fair to say Gasquet has been unlucky. He lost in the second round of Roland Garros to Rafael Nadal. He followed that with a defeat at the same stage at Wimbledon against Roger Federer. Gasquet has recorded two good wins this week, especially in his quarterfinal against Damir Dzuhmur, where he battled through a tight second set tiebreak to win in straights.
It’s crucial for the German to get off to a good start. Gasquet is not a player who will have the ability to hit Altmaier off the court. However, he is able to maintain a consistent base level of play over a long period of time. This is a big opportunity for both players, so it will be interesting to see who copes with the nerves better. They have met once before. That was also on clay in Parma, where the Frenchman won in straight sets. I think with the form the German has shown this week, this will go to three sets. However, I think Gasquet’s consistency will help him in the pressure moment and I think he will get the win.
Prediction: Gasquet in 3
Carlos Alcaraz vs Albert Ramos Vinolas
Head to Head: 1-0 Alcaraz
This all-Spanish encounter should prove to be fascinating to watch. It features a clash of two very different game styles. Carlos Alcaraz is one of the most exciting up and coming stars in the game. The Spaniard possesses incredible firepower and is able to hit a lot of his opponents off of the court. However, this can also lead to a high number of unforced errors, something he will have to rein in as his career progresses. Alcaraz made his first ATP Tour semifinal earlier in the season in Marbella, and recently at Roland Garros he recorded his career best result at a Grand slam so far, reaching the third round. It is fair to say that the Spaniard has been in good form on the clay this season.
Although not possessing the firepower of his younger Spanish counterpart, Albert Ramos Vinolas is an exceptional mover, particularly on clay, and has a brilliant defense which is the basis of his game. A former finalist at the Monte Carlo Masters in 2017, Ramos Vinolas is not to be underestimated. The Spaniard has won a clay court title this season in Estoril and has played his best tennis this season on clay, also reaching the final in Cordoba and the semifinals in Marbella. Ramos Vinolas has plenty of experience and crucially he has proven that he is able to cope well in high pressure situation.
The pair have met once before last year in Rio, where the younger Spaniard came through in a final set tiebreak and I expect today’s semifinal to also be a close match, with both players being high in confidence after the impressive performances both have produced this week. However, I think Alcaraz is playing the best tennis of his career at the moment and I think he will take control of the rallies.
Prediction: Alcaraz in 3
Main Photo from Getty.