A great week of tennis is approaching its finish line at the ATP Winston-Salem Open. Coming into this week, Mikael Ymer and Ilya Ivashka were far from the headliners of the event, but they absolutely deserve to battle for the singles title on Saturday. Whoever wins will end a major drought for their country at ATP level. But will it be Ymer or Ivashka who comes out on top in North Carolina?
ATP Winston-Salem Final Prediction
Ilya Ivashka vs Mikael Ymer
Head-to-head: Ymer 1-0 Ivashka
As unseeded players, both Ivashka and Ymer have had to win five matches to make it to the final. The Belarusian’s list of victims is impressive: Andreas Seppi (6-4 6-4), Marin Cilic (4-6 7-5 6-4) Jan-Lennard Struff (6-2 6-1), world #12 Pablo Carreño Busta (7-6 6-3) and the rising Finnish star Emil Ruusuvuori (6-2 6-1). This run is just a culmination of the great work Ivashka has put up this campaign next to his coach Pepe Checa. With a 34-15 record at tour level events including qualifying draws, he’s finally found the consistency that eluded him earlier in his career.
Contrarily, Ymer’s good run of form hasn’t spanned throughout the whole season. In fact, the Swede was sitting at a 13-11 record after Wimbledon. However, he’s found momentum at Wake Forest University’s facility, notching upset wins over the likes of Albert Ramos, Frances Tiafoe and the 18-year-old wunderkind Carlos Alcaraz en route to the final.
Once a tennis superpower, Sweden hasn’t had an ATP tour-level champion since Robin Soderling’s swan song in 2011 Bastad. In order to find the latest Belarusian singles titlist we must turn back the clock even further, to when Max Mirnyi, now better know for his achievements on the doubles court, won the title in Rotterdam eighteen years ago, according to ATP.
The pair have met once previously, with that match coming two years ago at the Orleans Challenger. Ymer won in the midst of his impressive 54-win season. Ivashka is way more reliable nowadays and the match is in his racket. Ultimately, it seems likely to be a mental battle. Whoever copes with the nerves and pressure better in the crucial first set should clinch the title. Expect that to be the more experienced Ivashka.
Prediction: Ivashka in 2
Embed from Getty Images