ATP Rotterdam Predictions Including Hubert Hurkacz vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Hubert Hurkacz in action ahead of the ATP Rotterdam Open.
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The first ATP 500 event of the season begins this week at the ATP Rotterdam Open , with a very strong field of players including Stefanos Tsitsipas,  defending champion Andrey Rublev and Felix Auger-Aliassime. As always, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for every match on the schedule. But who will reach the second round?

ATP Rotterdam Day 1 Predictions

Nikoloz Basilashvili vs Mackenzie McDonald

Head-to-head: first meeting

Nikoloz Basilashvili is the eighth seed this week, but the Georgian is yet to win a match this season on the ATP Tour. Basilashvili possesses incredible firepower, however, his level often fluctuates throughout the season and the Georgian has struggled with consistency week in week out on the ATP Tour. Still, the indoor conditions should suit Basilashvili’s power game, at least in theory. The court speed in Rotterdam was on the slow side last season, and if conditions are the same this week, Basilashvili will have plenty of time on the ball to unleash big shots.

Mackenzie McDonald recorded a good win over Ilya Ivashka last week in Montpellier. Ivashka has a similar game style to Basilashvili, and the American, an effective counter-puncher against opponents who possess more firepower than him, will hope to repeat that performance and result. Although he was knocked out by Alexander Zverev in the second round, McDonald pushed the German to a tiebreak in the second set, and was a mini-break up before Zverev rallied back to win the set and the match.

McDonald plays a very different style of tennis to the Georgian, and is more willing to be patient and get involved in long baseline exchanges from the back of the court. The result of this match is very difficult to call. It is possible that the Georgian will play a terrific match and get the win, however given the current form of both players, expect the American to get the win in three sets.

Prediction: McDonald in 3
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David Goffin vs Alex de Minaur

Head-to-head: de Minaur 2-0 Goffin

After struggling with form after contacting Covid 19 last season, it is good to see Alex de Minaur rediscovering his best form again at the start of 2022. The Australian recorded impressive wins over Matteo Berrettini and Ugo Humbert at the ATP Cup, and this form carried on during the Australian Open, where he reached the fourth round. Despite not possessing a big weapon in his game, de Minaur is one of the best movers on the ATP Tour and is effective in wearing down opponents physically from the back of the court.

David Goffin has struggled to find his best form over the past couple of seasons, with the Belgian suffering with injury problems. Since retiring from his match against Andy Murray in Sydney, Goffin was defeated by Dan Evans in the opening round of the Australian Open, and last week Adrian Mannarino defeated the Belgian comfortably in the round of 16 in Montpellier. Goffin has a similar style of play to his Australian opponent, and there should be many long rallies in this match. Given the contrasting form of both players, expect de Minaur to have too much for the Belgian.

Prediction: de Minaur in 2
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Ugo Humbert vs Cameron Norrie

Head-to-head: Humbert 1-0 Norrie

Cameron Norrie has struggled to produce his 2021 form so far this season, and the British player is still looking for his first win of the season. Norrie looked fatigued at times during the ATP Cup, where he suffered defeats to Alexander Zverev, Felix Auger Aliassime and Taylor Fritz. At the Australian Open, Norrie was unfortunate to face a red-hot Sebastian Korda in the opening round, where he was defeated in straight sets. Norrie plays a very physical brand of tennis and is one of the fittest players on the ATP Tour. He very rarely beats himself by making a lot of unforced errors, and is usually a model of consistency from the back of the court.

Ugo Humbert recorded an impressive victory overt Daniil Medvedev at the ATP Cup, however, the Frenchman was then unfortunate to contract covid-19 during the Australian Open, where he was defeated by Richard Gasquet in the opening round. Gasquet also defeated Humbert in three sets last week in the opening round of Montpellier, so it will be interesting to see if Humbert can produce better form this week in Rotterdam. But the Frenchman possesses an accurate lefty serve and has a heavy weight of shot, particularly on the forehand side. However, he can struggle when returning, and this is an area he will have to work on if he is to progress further up the ATP Rankings.

This promises to be a close match, however, Norrie may well be in a better space physically and mentally, having had a couple of weeks off since his first-round defeat at the Australian Open. The Briton is the more consistent of the two players, and that should be the difference. Expect him to get the win in three sets.

Prediction: Norrie in 3
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Hubert Hurkacz vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Head-to-head: first meeting

After enjoying a good start to the year at the ATP Cup, where he only lost one of his singles matches, in a third set tiebreak against Roberto Bautista Agut, Hubert Hurkacz had a disappointing Australian Open, where he was defeated by Mannarino in the second round. During his second round loss, the Pole struggled tactically, and could not deal with the lack of pace on the Frenchman’s shots.

This is definitely an area of the game that Hurkacz will have to work on, as well as developing a bit more consistency on the forehand side. Having said that, last year’s Champion in Miami possesses a powerful serve, and is also very good at the net. Hurkacz will be looking to put the Australian Open behind him, and he is definitely one of the main contenders for the title this week.

Jo-Wilfred Tsonga started his season at the Quimper Challenger, where he defeated fellow Frenchman Alexandre Muller in the opening round, before falling to Marc-Andre Huesler. Tsonga played his first tour-level event of the season in Montpellier last week, where he defeated Kacper Zuk, before losing to Filip Krajinovic. It is hard to gauge where the Frenchman’s game is at, given the small sample size of matches, however it is positive to see Tsonga back fit and on the match court. Having said that, Hurkacz should have just about too much for Tsonga. Expect him to get the win in two tight sets.

Prediction: Hurkacz in 2

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