Even though the first major of the year has just ended, the tennis action doesn’t stop as we head to the indoor hardcourts in Europe with Montpellier in France first up on the ATP side, with World #3 Alexander Zverev the headline act.
ATP Montpellier Day 1 Predictions
Alexander Bublik vs Tallon Griekspoor
Head-to-head: Bublik 1-0
It’s not been a good start to the year for the man from Kazakhstan with just one win and no sets won in his two lost matches. On the other hand, Griekspoor is coming off good wins against Koepfer, Popyrin, and Fognini in Australia. Their last and only meeting led to Bublik prevailing in two tiebreak sets and given the form of both men this could very well be another close encounter. Whilst Greikspoor is the favourite according to the bookings I feel indoor hard courts are a good way for the big-hitting Bublik to regain some sort of form and with the power he possesses, get past the Dutchman.
Prediction: Bublik in 3
Gilles Simon vs Antoine Hoang
Head-to-head: Simon 1-0
It’s sad to see the once great Gilles Simon playing qualifying for an ATP 250 event in his home country but sadly that is where his level is these days, and unfortunately it’s not getting any better. After a shocking loss to a 17-year-old ranked outside the top 1500 in the Australian Open qualifying draw, things didn’t get any better this week with a Challenger loss to Zuk, ranked outside the world’s top 170. There’s no doubt the 37 year old is near the very end of his career and thankfully for his case if he is going to make the main draw he may well have a fair chance since Hoang is coming into this event with lost nine matches in a row before winning his first qualifying match.
Prediction: Simon in 3
Pierre-Hugues Herbert vs Mikhail Kukushkin
Despite having an amazing career in doubles, the singles game for Herbert never quite got going. Now 30 years of age and ranked outside the top 100 there’s perhaps not much quite left in it. Despite poor form, on indoor hardcourts the Frenchman has always had the serve to compete against most players and with Kukushkin falling down the rankings himself, it may not be a pretty match but it’s one where the Frenchman can please fans and make his home main draw. However, given Herbert struggled in his opening qualifying match against a player ranked outside the top 1000, I think Kukushkin can make enough returns to get the win here.
Prediction: Kukushkin in 3
Benjamin Bonzi vs David Goffin
Head-to-head: Goffin 1-0
Ever since his freak eye accident a few years back, no one has ever known which David Goffin will show up. Most of the time it’s unfortunately a shadow of himself but at the rare event here and there we see just how good he was a few years ago. Now 31 years old, it’s a matter of making the most of his remaining time on tour and for that to happen he needs to start picking up some more titles. The pair played here last year and Goffin won a tight three setter; I can see the same happening again, with the Belgian grinding the Frenchman into a fair amount of errors to prevail.
Prediction: Goffin in 2
Main Photo from Getty.