Day 4 at the ATP 250 in Estoril sees the top seed Felix Auger Aliassime begin his tournament against a tricky opponent in Carlos Taberner. Elsewhere, there is a mouthwatering match between Marin Cilic and Sebastian Baez. Richard Gasquet will look to replicate his opening round performance, as he takes on qualifier Hugo Dellien. Sebastian Korda takes on Benjamin Bonzi, who knocked out Dominic Thiem in the opening round. Here are my predictions for Thursday’s matches.
ATP Estoril Day 4 Predictions
Hugo Dellien vs Richard Gasquet
Head to head: First meeting
Richard Gasquet produced a stunning display in the opening round to defeat Tommy Paul. The Frenchman may be in the twilight of his career, however he showed that class is permanent and his used his backhand effectively to create angles.
Hugo Dellien came through qualifying to reach the main draw this week. The Bolivian showed promise in Monte Carlo, where despite losing to Hubert Hurkacz, Dellien showed that he can hassle the worlds best on this surface. The Bolivian defeated Jiri Vesely in the opening round, and will have confidence heading into this match.
I think this will be a close match. Neither player possesses the firepower to punch holes in their opponent, and both are great defenders from the baseline. I think the Frenchman will get the win in three sets.
Prediction: Gasquet in 3
Sebastian Baez vs Marin Cilic
Head to Head: First Meeting
Sebastian Baez is a player to look out for this clay court season. The Argentine was a finalist in Santiago, and a quarter finalist at the Cordoba Open. Baez plays in a similar style to his fellow Argentine Diego Schwartzman. Both players are exemplary movers and are able to defend exceptionally well from the back of the court. Baez has firepower in his forehand, however his serve is a potential area that opponents can attack.
Marin Cilic was a semi finalist last year in Estoril, and the Croatian has made a decent start to 2022. Cilic reached back to back semifinals at the two ATP 250s in Adelaide, and followed this up with a run to the fourth round of the Australian Open. Cilic also reached the quarterfinals in Doha.
I think this will go to three sets, however I think the Argentine has more clay court matches under his belt this season, and I think he will get the win.
Prediction: Baez in 3
Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Carlos Taberner
Head to Head 1-0 Auger Aliassime
Both players played each other last week in Barcelona, with the Canadian prevailing in a tight three set match. Since winning his first ATP title in Rotterdam and reaching the final of Marseille the following week, Auger-Aliassime has struggled to replicate the heights of his early season form. A quarterfinal run in Barcelona last week showed signs that he was beginning to get back to his best, however this will be a very difficult match for the Canadian.
Carlos Taberner has played some great tennis so far in 2022. The Spaniard has won a Challenger title in Roseto degli Abruzzi, and in the last two weeks, he has recorded impressive tour level wins over Sebastian Korda and Lloyd Harris. Taberner is an impressive mover on clay courts, and he has the capability to frustrate the Canadian with his variety.
I think this will be a close match, similar to their encounter in Barcelona. However, I think Auger-Aliassime will get the win in three sets.
Prediction: Auger-Aliassime in 3
Benjamin Bonzi vs Sebastian Korda
Head to Head: First Meeting
Benjamin Bonzi did well to maintain his composure during his opening round win over Dominic Thiem. The Frenchman’s first serve deserted him in the second set tiebreak, however he stayed positive and aggressive to record the win. Bonzi best tour level result this season came at Marseille where he defeated Aslan Karatsev on route to the semifinals. Despite being inconsistent at times, the Frenchman possesses massive firepower on his serve and forehand sides. I expect that he will make deep runs at more ATP Tour events this season.
Sebastian Korda suffered a one sided defeat last week in the opening round of Barcelona against Carlos Taberner. However the American put that loss behind him this week, recording a relatively comfortable straight sets win against Pierre Hugues Herbert in the opening round. Korda won his first ATP Title last season on the clay courts of Parma, and he reached the fourth round of Roland Garros in 2020. The American will be looking to have more positive results on this surface in 2022.
I think this will be another three set match. However, I think the American is the better clay court player, and I think he will get the win.
Prediction: Korda in 3
Main Photo from Getty.