There is plenty of excitement at the ATP Eastbourne International ahead of the quarterfinal matches. Cam Norrie is on the hunt for his first grass-court title but has the big serve-and-volleying Maxime Cressy to contend with first, Taylor Fritz is looking for his second title here in Eastbourne but will have to take on the unpredictability of Alexander Bublik and defending champ Alex De Minaur will have to take on Tommy Paul who defeated Jannik Sinner in the previous round. We tried to predict the outcomes of these tantalising matches.
ATP Eastbourne Day 4 Predictions
Taylor Fritz vs Alexander Bublik
Head-to-head: Fritz 0-3 Bublik
Alexander Bublik has been a thorn in Taylor Fritz’s side. Three matches played, three matches won against the American having only been broken four times in 43 service games in those matches – both his career-hold-percentage and Fritz’s career-break-percentage would suggest this should be around nine breaks over the same span.
Bublik’s unpredictability on serve has worked so far in his match-up with Fritz. Their last match was over a year ago however when Fritz wasn’t moving quite as well as he is now. Explosive movement is useful when having to deal with drop-shots, second-serve bombs and under-arm serves. Still, it’s difficult to ignore the fact Fritz has clearly felt rattled playing the Kazakh in the past… We’re betting on him still having Fritz’s number.
Prediction: Bublik in 3.
Alex De Minaur vs Tommy Paul
Head-to-head: De Minaur 2-0 Paul
Tommy Paul’s win over Jannik Sinner was somewhat impressive but isn’t as surprising as some might think. The Italian is yet to win a match on grass in his career for good reason.
- He doesn’t spot-serve as well as others on the tour.
- He returns like a dream given time on the ball.
- He loads both of his wings with plenty of spin.
Sure, he might be able to make it work in the future but for now Sinner’s game doesn’t translate particularly well to grass. Meanwhile, Paul’s game should be outstanding on grass.
- His backhand is nice and flat.
- He possesses a confident transition and volley game.
- He likes to use the pace of the serve to return confidently.
This sort of game is tough to beat on grass but defending champion Alex De Minaur is probably the man for the job. His 2-0 record against Paul is no coincidence, able to return from inside the baseline a little better than Paul and possessing slightly bigger weapons from the back of the court. Paul’s ability to move forward could be his only lifeline here – expect a tough battle with this surface allowing both players to shine but for De Minaur’s game to be marginally stronger.
Prediction: De Minaur in 3
Cameron Norrie vs Maxime Cressy
Head-to-head: First Meeting
In most matches on a grass court, it’s essentially a dice roll against Maxime Cressy. The serve and volleyer will take the racket out of the hands of most players giving them little to no say in whether or not they will be able to break his serve.
Cameron Norrie isn’t most players. Yes a lot of Cressy’s service points will be dictated by him but Norrie has the sort of return to trouble the American’s preferred style of play.
- Norrie’s forehand can make the ball dip viciously due to his abnormally heavy topspin.
- Norrie’s backhand can keep the ball incredibly low due to its abnormal flatness.
Two opposite groundstrokes that are both good at countering serve and volley. Cressy still has the level to play everything on his terms if he can execute but Norrie will ask the question more often than most.
Prediction: Norrie in 2
Main Photo from Getty.