Thursday’s action sees the remainder of the second round matches take place at the ATP 250 Cordoba Open. There are several interesting matchups on day 4 as established clay court experts Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Lorenzo Sonego, and Cristian Garin aim to book their places in the quarterfinals. The third seeded Garin faces an especially difficult test in his opening match of the tournament when he faces rising star Sebastian Baez. Who will book a spot in the quarterfinals?
ATP Cordoba Day 4 Predictions
Alejandro Tabilo vs Carlos Taberner
H2H: Taberner 1-0
Alejandro Tabilo is on a roll in Cordoba. The Chilean has recorded three consecutive straight set wins having come through the qualifying draw. A 6-4 6-1 win over Francisco Cerundolo was an impressive start to his main draw campaign. Meanwhile, Carlos Taberner upset the fifth seeded Federico Delbonis in the opening round, a 6-4 6-2 win. Delbonis was out of sorts in that match, Taberner was good enough to capitalize. In matchup of fine margins, the seemingly greater form of Tabilo is likely to give the Chilean the slight edge in this encounter.
Prediction: Tabilo in 3
Albert Ramos-Vinolas vs Juan Pablo Varillas
H2H: Ramos-Vinolas 1-0
Albert Ramos-Vinolas was relatively untroubled in his Cordoba opener, a 6-4 6-3 win over Andrej Martin. A single break of serve in each set was enough for the Spaniard who was able to fend off all 3 break points faced. Ramos-Vinolas has a good record is Cordoba having reached the final last year and the quarterfinals the year before.
Juan Pablo Varillas barely raised a sweat as he advanced through the qualifying draw in Cordoba with a pair of straight set wins. The Peruvian certainly raised a sweat in a 3 hour and 19 minute 6-4 5-7 7-6 victory over Facundo Bagnis. Luckily Varillas gets two days to recover before his second round matchup.
Ramos-Vinolas won 7-6 6-2 in the only previous meeting between the pair on the clay of Santiago in 2020. Expect a similar result here. Ramos-Vinolas makes a living out of these types of matches, he very rarely loses to much lower ranked opponents on a clay court, especially at this time of the year. Expect the solid lefty to prevail.
Prediction: Ramos-Vinolas in 2
Lorenzo Sonego vs Roberto Carballes Baena
H2H: Carballes Baena 3-1
It’s no surprise to see Lorenzo Sonego make the trip to South America for the Golden Swing. Some of the Italian’s best results over the last couple of seasons were on clay. A fourth round appearance at Roland Garros in 2020, a title run in Cagliari last season which was followed by a semi-final showing in Rome where he took a set off Novak Djokovic. Sonego received a bye through the opening round in Cordoba and faces a decent first-up challenge against Roberto Carballes Baena.
Carballes Baena made his way through to the second round with a 6-2 6-4 win over an errant Holger Rune. The Spaniard has succumbed at the second round stage in Cordoba in his last couple of appearances, but he did win the event when it was classed as a challenger event in 2018.
Carballes Baena won the first three meetings between the pair. Sonego won their most recent match 2-6 7-6 7-6 on clay in Kitzbuhel in 2019. It’s fair to say Sonego is the more talented of the pair. That was the case in the Spaniard’s first round matchup, but he still managed to beat Holger Rune quite easily. Sonego is potentially vulnerable here in his first clay court match of the season, Carballes Baena is solid enough to take advantage of any inconsistencies.
Prediction: Carballes Baena in 3
Cristian Garin vs Sebastian Baez
H2H: First meeting.
The pick of the second round matchups in Cordoba sees 2020 champion Cristian Garin take on Argentinian rising star Sebastian Baez. Garin received a bye through the opening round whilst Baez managed to defeated Fernando Verdasco 7-6 7-5 despite being far from his best for most of the match.
Cristian Garin has become a Golden Swing specialist over the last couple of seasons. Garin has won three ATP titles in South America over the last few seasons, including the Cordoba Open in 2020 where he upset Diego Schwartzman in the final. Garin brings decent form into Cordoba having won a couple of matches at the Australian Open, including a five set epic over Pedro Martinez in the second round before succumbing to Gael Monfils in straight sets. Expect the Chilean to pick up his level on the South American clay.
I’m going to side with Baez here. Whilst it’s true that Garin is far more experienced at this level and is much higher ranked, there’s little to separate the pair in terms of ability. Baez dominated the Challenger Tour on clay last year and is ready to make his mark on the ATP tour. Garin is used to having heavier shots than his opponents on a clay court, that won’t be the case here. This looks like the spot for Baez to start to make his mark at this level.
Prediction: Baez in 3
Main Photo from Getty.