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ATP Marrakech Day 1 Predictions Including Henri Laaksonen vs Richard Gasquet

Carlos Taberner in action ahead of the ATP Marrakech Open.

With four intriguing first-round matches on the slate, there should be plenty of entertaining action on day one at the ATP Marrakech Open. As always, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for all four matches. But who will book their place in the second round in Morocco?

ATP Marrakech Day 1 Predictions

Henri Laaksonen vs Richard Gasquet

Head-to-head: Gasquet 1-0 Laaksonen

Just one place separates these two men in the ATP rankings. But Richard Gasquet has a considerable advantage in terms of experience. The 35-year-old Frenchman has 566 tour-level wins to his name, along with 15 ATP titles and three appearances in a Grand Slam semifinal. Henri Laaksonen, by way of contrast, has won just 50 tour-level matches since turning professional in 2009. It’s a perfectly respectable record, but it pales in comparison to Gasquet’s.

He was also well-beaten in their only previous meeting in Bastad. Still, Laaksonen has reasons to feel confident. He is at his best on the clay and will back himself to win the physical battle against Gasquet. He is not nearly so elegant a stroke-player as Gasquet, but he covers the court well and can pack a punch in baseline exchanges when given time on the ball. Neither man is in much form to speak of, which should favour Laaksonen. Expect him to outmuscle Gasquet here.

Prediction: Laaksonen in 3
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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina vs Federico Coria

Head-to-head: first meeting

This clay-court season is a big opportunity for Alejandro Davidovich Fokina to make a mark at tour-level. The Spaniard has had a disappointing season so far, winning just four of the 12 matches he has played and suffering some heavy defeats, but he has the tools to succeed on the European clay. There are not many players who cover the court better than him and he has a useful weapon in his forehand. What he does not have at the moment is much confidence.

Federico Coria may be feeling similarly short of confidence, and glad to be back on his preferred clay. Since reaching back-to-back quarterfinals Buenos Aires and Rio, the Argentine has won just one match, though his 6-7 record for the year is better than his opponent’s. At his best, Davidovich Fokina would have to be the favourite for this match, and a fairly heavy one at that, but right now Coria looks the likelier winner. He should be able to frustrate the Spaniard and secure a second-round berth.

Prediction: Coria in 3
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Jiri Lehecka vs Laslo Djere

Head-to-head: first meeting

Players being happy to be back on the clay is something of a theme on day one at the ATP Marrakech Open. Laslo Djere is probably amongst the happiest. The Serbian looked to be well-equipped to succeed on all three surfaces earlier in his career, but he never quite added the power of the ground he needed to become a consistent top-50 player on hard and grass courts. But he has generally been able to wear opponents down on the clay with good court coverage and consistent groundstrokes.

He played poorly during the Golden Swing, losing first-round in Buenos Aires and Rio, but he has been handed a relatively kind first-round draw here. Jiri Lehecka clearly has a very bright future – his run to the semifinals in Rotterdam points to that much – but he has not had a particularly consistent season and has very little experience of tour-level tennis. That, in theory at least, makes him just about the ideal opponent for Djere to come up against here.

Prediction: Djere in 2
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Carlos Taberner vs Yannick Hanfmann

Head-to-head: Hanfmann 2-0 Taberner

This pair have spent most of their careers on the fringes of the main tour, but the Challenger circuit breeds very tough competitors and both have enjoyed plenty of success at that level. The 24-year-old Carlos Taberner looks likely to establish himself as a tour-level regular in the near future having broken into the top 100 for the first time late last season. Yannick Hanfmann is at a different stage in his career, but the German has been ranked as high as 92nd in the world and will hope to return to the top 100.

He has also twice reached ATP finals on the clay, in Gstaad in 2017 and in 2020 in Kitzbuhel. Nonetheless, Taberner is surely the favourite heading into this match. He cannot match Hanfmann’s power, but he is a very solid baseliner and has been playing the better tennis of late. Although both lost in the second round last week in Marbella, Taberner won a Challenger on clay in Abruzzi in the second week of March. Expect him to come out on top here.

Prediction: Taberner in 3

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