The ATP San Diego Open probably has the most star-studded draw amongst ATP 250s this season. With so many top-20 players, the tournament promises to be an entertaining one, and the exciting tennis should continue on day two. As always, we here at LWOT are offering our predictions for every match on the schedule, including Kei Nishikori vs Andy Murray. But who will advance?
ATP San Diego Day 2 Predictions
Sebastian Korda vs Tommy Paul
Head-to-head: Korda 2-0 Paul
Two young guns face off on day two in this all-American clash. Sebastian Korda was enjoying impressive runs at almost every tournament he played before the hard-court season resumed. He crashed out in the second round at the Citi Open and Cincinnati Masters before he withdrew from the US Open in the first round due to injury.
There is no doubting his potential, and he will surely bounce back, but when that happens will depend on his fitness. His opponent, Tommy Paul hasn’t had great results of late in his recent main draw appearances. Unfortunately, that is something of a microcosm of his career, with Paul’s ranking having rarely reflected his ability.
This will be their third meeting this season with the younger of the two men having won the first two. Korda has an impressive baseline game and solid strokes. He likes to be aggressive from the back of the court, a style that should be perfectly suited to the faster, bouncier American hard courts. Paul too has a powerful baseline game – though his backhand is something of a weakness – and he covers the court well.
But the main concern for him is whether he will be able to keep Korda on the backfoot for enough of the match. Paul has to prepare for a relentless attack from Korda if he wants to win this. That said, Paul may have an advantage in this match, due to the injury Korda suffered against Nikoloz Basilashvili in New York. If Korda has fully recovered, he may win this easily, but if not, this is going to be a thriller. Still, he is the higher-ranked man for a reason. Expect him to advance.
Prediction: Korda in 3
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Dominik Koepfer vs Cameron Norrie
Head-to-head: Koepfer 2-1 Norrie
A few months ago, the then British #1 Cameron Norrie was in the form of his life. He picked up his first ATP title (in his fifth final) in Los Cabos and looked prime for deep runs in Toronto, Cincinnati and New York. However, rather unexpectedly, Norrie lost his way, crashing out in the first round in Toronto, Cincinnati and at the US Open, where he was seeded 26th. In fact, he won just two matches throughout the entire US Open series, in Atlanta and Washington. It will be interesting to see when he will arrest the fall.
On the other side of the net, Dominik Koepfer is having similar struggles. It is still relatively early in the German’s career, but this degree of inconsistency will surely be a concern. The two men, who both enjoyed successful college careers, first met in 2016 at an ITF tournament, where Koepfer won in three sets. They have met twice more since, with Koepfer leading the head-to-head 2-1. However, going by the rankings, Norrie is the clear favorite here. That said, his recent performances do not inspire much confidence.
Of course, Koepfer hasn’t made much of an impression in recent weeks either, but he has been faced with some very tough draws, including running into eventual champion Daniil Medvedev in the second round in New York. If Norrie can bring back his game to his best level, he has a good chance of winning this, but that doesn’t look all that likely at the moment. Expect Koepfer to win this duel and extend his lead in their head-to-head.
Prediction: Koepfer in 3
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Diego Schwartzman vs Federico Gaio
Head-to-head: first meeting
Diego Schwartzman might well be one of the most tenacious players to never have won a Grand Slam. His best chance to do so will probably be at Roland Garros, but so far in his career Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have been too good for him in Paris. With Stefanos Tsitsipas knocking on the door and Dominic Thiem to return, the odds of Schwartzman finishing his career with no Grand Slam title to show for his efforts are surely growing.
But that hasn’t stopped him from establishing himself as one of the most consistent players on tour. However, he does come into the ATP San Diego Open with something of a point to prove after falling to a painful five-set defeat against Botic van de Zandschulp in the fourth round at the US Open. The sting of that defeat may have been somewhat lessened when van de Zandschulp went on to become the only player to take a set of eventual champion Daniil Medvedev, but it doubtless hurt all the same.
Federico Gaio, meanwhile, plays the majority of his tennis on the ATP Challenger Tour. He rarely manages to qualify for the main draws, but has managed that feat this week after beating Steve Johnson and Denis Kudla. This pair haven’t met before which is no great surprise as, despite both spending many years on tour now, they have mainly played at different levels.
Schwartzman is used to punching above his weight, with even the game’s elite often struggling to breach his defences. Schwartzman’s fitness is superb, and though hard courts aren’t his best surface, he is surely the favourite in this match. In truth, even if Gaio plays like never before, Schwartzman will still be expected to win, such is his reputation. Expect him to live up to it here.
Prediction: Schwartzman in 2
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