There should be plenty of entertaining action on semifinals day at the ATP Rotterdam Open with two intriguing matches on the slate at the Ahoy Rotterdam Arena. As always, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for both semifinals. But who will book their place in Saturday’s final?
ATP Rotterdam Semifinal Predictions
Jiri Lehecka vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Head-to-head: first meeting
Jiri Lehecka has enjoyed the best week of his career this week in Rotterdam. The Czech player has recorded three brilliant victories over Denis Shapovalov, Botic Van De Zandschulp, and Lorenzo Musetti. Lehecka is the youngest Rotterdam semi finalist since 1995. What has been particularly impressive about the Czech player, has been his calm composure and temperament. What particularly impressed me in his win over Musetti, was his ability to continue to play aggressive tennis when under pressure. Lehecka was the aggressor towards the end of the match, and even when he hit unforced errors, he did not panic and continued to commit to his game plan. The Czech player is now ranked inside the top 100. His ranking looks destined to continue to rise throughout his career.
Stefanos Tsitsipas has upped his level since his opening round victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. The Greek comfortably took care of the big serving Ilya Ivashka, and despite Alex De Minaur playing at a very high level, Tsitsipas was able to dictate the majority of the rallies from the back of the court. The Greek’s strong net game adds means that he can finish off points quickly and this adds a tactical variation to his game.
The slow conditions have also helped Tsitsipas, giving him more time on his ground strokes and return of serve. The Greek is only two wins away from securing his first ATP 500 title. He is still the favourite to win the tournament this week. This may well be a close match. Lehecka has little expectation on his shoulders, so can play his natural aggressive game with freedom. The Czech player has the power to trouble Tsitsipas, but this may somewhat neutralised by the slow conditions. Expect Tsitsipas to have too much for Lehecka.
Prediction: Tsitsipas in 3
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Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Andrey Rublev
Head-to-head: Rublev 2-0 Auger-Aliassime
Felix Auger-Aliassime was not at his best in his win over Cameron Norrie. The Canadian on serve early on in the match. However, he managed to dictate rallies from the back of the court, with his heavy topspin forehand proving to be strong weapon and he managed to grind out a hard fought two set victory. This performance is strong testament to his calm temperament and strong mentality under pressure. Auger-Aliassime has made a great start to the 2022 season, and if he continues this strong early season form, then this could prove to be the most successful year of his career so far.
Andrey Rublev, in contrast, looked very sharp in his quarterfinal win over Marton Fucsovics. The Russian put in an exemplary serving performance, and backed this us up consistent firepower from the back of the court. When Rublev is in this kind of form, the Russian looks unplayable. The Russian’s problem can be that against those ranked higher than him, Rublev often struggles to formulate and execute a back up plan.
When the Russian doesn’t execute his aggressive heavy hitting from the baseline, he can struggle to adapt his game. However, this week the Russian has not dropped a set and has looked a class above his opponents so far. As the tournament heads into its latter stages, it will be interesting to see if the defending champion can keep up the great form he has shown thus far this week. This should be a close and exciting match. Auger-Aliassime plays more percentage tennis, due to his heavy topspin ground strokes. On the other hand, Rublev has the firepower to hit through any opponent on the tour, however has less margin for error. This may go the distance, but Rublev should have the edge thanks to his more solid serve.
Prediction: Rublev in 3
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