Day 2 of the ATP Antwerp Open promises to be a brilliant occasion. Some brilliant match-ups are on offer, and we’ll be treated to yet another clash between Andy Murray and Frances Tiafoe. Who will be going through to the next round? We offer up our predictions on four matches in this piece, as well as in a separate article.
ATP Antwerp Day 2 Predictions
Benoit Paire vs Henri Laaksonen
Head-to-head: Laaksonen 1 -0 Paire
Predicting a Benoit Paire match these days will never be a simple task. The erratic Frenchman has had a poor year in terms of behavior and performances, and it’s increasingly difficult to gauge how he’ll play. There were some brilliant performances during the US hard court swing, but he hasn’t managed to keep up this form or his temper under control, which can often lose him matches.
Henri Laaksonen has had a great year, having just won a Challenger title after a superb showing at the US Open. The qualifier came through a tough draw to make the first round, and he will see this as a match he can win. The Swiss won their only counter two years ago in straight sets, which was also on an indoor hard court. I can definitely see him winning again here given his good form and Paire’s inconsistency. It may be closer this time, though.
Prediction: Laaksonen in 3
Lorenzo Musetti vs Gianluca Mager
Head-to-head: Musetti 1 – 0 Mager
Lorenzo Musetti’s dreadful form has continued ever since his five-set loss to Djokovic at Roland Garros. The young Italian was looking as if he was quickly going to become a superstar in the near future, but this has stalled for now. He plays a hugely exciting brand of tennis, with fantastic power from both wings, boasting a very aesthetically pleasing one-handed backhand. However, off court troubles and low confidence have affected him hugely, and the Musetti we’re seeing at the moment is certainly not the same one we saw earlier this year.
Gianluca Mager is someone I feel is underachieving at the moment. Having watched a number of his matches this year it’s clear that he’s got the weapons to be a fixture in the top 50, but he seems to lack consistency. He can hit with great power off both wings and has a strong serve, so this should be an interesting match. If Musetti’s poor form continues, then this should be a solid win Mager. Musetti has every chance of finding his form again and playing well, but I’ll give the slight edge to the older Italian here.
Prediction: Mager in 3
Dennis Novak vs Marton Fucsovics
Head-to-head: Fucsovics 1 – 0 Novak
Marton Fucsovics has underperformed a fair bit since his quarterfinal run at Wimbledon. A player who. on his day, is one of the better ball strikers on the circuit. That’s just the problem though – he is having too many off days right now. Usually he is so solid, and the combination of his knifing slice and the ability to smack winners around the court makes him so dangerous. He just needs to find his consistency again.
Dennis Novak is in decent form right now, coming through a titanic battle with Andreas Seppi in qualifying. Novak has had some great runs at Challenger tournaments this year, and he’s always an extremely solid player. Usually, Fucsovics would be expected to win this fairly comfortably, but the Hungarian’s on and off form suggests this may be close. Expect a tense three setter here, but Fucsovics should really be good enough to out-hit the Austrian.
Prediction: Fucsovics in 3
Andy Murray vs Frances Tiafoe
Head-to-head: Murray 1 – 1 Tiafoe
Yet again, Andy Murray finds himself with really tough early match. The Brit has played some fantastic tennis in recent months, and he’s getting closer and closer to being truly competitive and consistent on the men’s tour again. The trouble is that he keeps running into in-form and highly ranked opponents early on. This will be the second time in recent months that Murray and Tiafoe have faced off, and it should be a close one. Murray put in a monumental effort against Alexander Zverev at Indian Wells last week, and could well have won a set if it wasn’t for errors at crucial moments.
Frances Tiafoe has been a joy to watch as this year has gone on. The young American brings so much charisma to the court, and his game is so exciting while being very effective. He’ll no doubt be looking to be as aggressive as possible here to get Murray on the run. Tiafoe’s groundstrokes look excellent at the moment, and it will take a big performance from Murray to beat him. That said, Murray is playing some wonderful tennis of his own and this will no doubt be another fantastic match. I think that Tiafoe will just have a little bit more than Murray at crucial times, but Murray is very close to winning these matches again.
Prediction: Tiafoe in 3
Main Photo from Getty.