ATP Lyon Day 3 Predictions Including Cameron Norrie vs Francisco Cerundolo

Cameron Norrie in action at the Australian Open
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Day 2 of the ATP Lyon 250 brought us our first upset, and Day 3 gives #263-ranked Yosuke Watanuki the chance to double up his feat. Meanwhile, #1 seed Cam Norrie is on court, as he seeks a repeat finals appearance here in Lyons. Who will prevail?

ATP Lyon Day 3 Predictions

Yosuke Watanuki vs Soonwoo Kwon

Head-to-head: first meeting

Watanuki has scored what will likely be considered the upset of the tournament, after a win over Pedro Martinez, a player ranked over 200 places higher. But even more stark is that Watanuki is virtually without experience on clay at any level, whereas Martinez is a decent clay courter. But that’s why the matches are played. And lightning may, in fact, strike twice. The Japanese gets perhaps a fortuitous draw in Kwon, who has strongly gravitated toward hard courts over his career.

The two have met three times in sub-ATP competition, all on hard, with Watanuki holding a 2-1 edge. However, Kwon has improved dramatically since their last meeting three years ago, while Watanuki is ranked about the same. The Korean is having a decent season, but I am slightly concerned over Watanuki’s win over Martinez and another in qualifying over Carlos Taberner (a decent clay courter ranked near Kwon’s ranking). Maybe he just needed to switch surfaces, and is finding his groove on dirt? I go with Kwon, but I wouldn’t have picked him over Taberner.
Prediction: Kwon in 3

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Hugo Gaston vs Manuel Guinard

Head-to-head: first meeting

After making a strong push last year, Hugo Gaston has stagnated. Fortunately for him, he faces an opponent who is so inexperienced that he is given no date on his ATP profile for when he turned pro. Guinard has spent years on the Challenger and Futures circuit, and is playing in just his second ATP-level match. Gaston is new to the tour as well, but he is a legitimate player at that level, with an exciting and tricky game. This matchup is very similar to the Baez-Etcheverry matchup that we just saw, except the rankings are lower—diminutive, higher-ranked player vs 6’5″ inexperienced countryman. Gaston’s win over John Isner earlier this season testifies to his ability to handle the power of a much larger opponent. He should find some relief from his woes in this all-French matchup.
Prediction: Gaston in 2

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Cam Norrie vs Francisco Cerundolo

Head-to-head: first meeting

It’s hard to get a bead on Cerundolo. He’s risen 75 spots this season, but most of those points were from a semifinal appearance at Miami that included two opponents retiring. The rest of his season doesn’t match up to that tournament, and he has no main draw wins since then. (Which is strange, given that he strongly favors clay over hard courts.) I think he is probably over-ranked at the moment. Norrie is a high-quality player having a decent season (though not as good as last year), and was a finalist in Lyon in 2021. The Brit should form a tough wall that will likely elicit errors from the Argentine, and should see the higher-ranked player through handily.
Prediction: Norrie in 2

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