It is time for the semifinals at the ATP San Diego Open, as we reach the business end of the tournament. The four men still standing will all feel they have a chance of lifting the silverware, and all will be equally hungry to do just that. As always, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for both semifinals, but who will reach Sunday’s final?
ATP San Diego Final
Dan Evans vs Marcos Giron
Head-to-head: Evans 2-0 Giron
Dan Evans made short work of Constant Lestienne in his quarterfinal. That performance showed why he is the top seed here and top 30 in the world. Evans is not blessed with the firepower that some players even ranked lower than him possess, but what he does have is an immense tennis IQ. He also has incredible touch at the net and it’s pretty challenging to get the ball past Evans once he’s at the net.
Evans is very adept at creating angles and, at his best, his able to manoeuvre his opponents around the court, ensuring they run out of stamina long before he does. An area of concern though is his serve. Evans is accurate from the line, but his serve lacks real power and his second serve is a weakness opponents can target. In the last eight, Evans faced a total of 11 break points. Fortunately for him, Lestienne didn’t cash in, but he may not be so lucky in the semifinal.
Marcos Giron, meanwhile, saw off a dangerous looking James Duckworth in the quarterfinals. The first set was a test of grit for both, where Giron outperformed Duckworth. The pair traded two service breaks each, Giron broken whilst serving for the set, having had a set point. He himself then had to save two set points, finally edging out Duckworth in a tiebreak before winning the second set more comfortably.
At his best, Giron is a good aggressive baseliner, which shows in his 34 winners. His area for improvement is be his serve and his unforced error count. The American is sold off both wings, but must develop a better understanding of when to pull the trigger if he is to continue to rise up the rankings. The pair have met twice before, with both matches played last year, and Evans managed to come out on top both the times dropping just one set in the process. If he plays his best tennis, or something close to it, he should be able to extend his lead in the head-to-head. But it might prove to be a tough fight for Evans.
Prediction: Evans in 3
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Christopher O’Connell vs Brandon Nakashima
Head-to-head: First meeting
Christopher O’Connell pulled off an upset against second seed Jenson Brooksby in their quarterfinal encounter. O’Connell turned on the aggression to another level as he struck 14 aces and a staggering 50 winners over the course of three sets. This aggressive play compensated for the errors he made, and in the end he battled through to the last four after an hour-long third set. But he may struggle to replicate that attacking approach against Brandon Nakashima.
The American defeated Daniel Elahi Galan in a tiring three setter in his quarterfinal match. Though the encounter was a close one, there were moments in the match, when Galan had no answer to his serve and plus one shot combinations, with Nakashima’s forehand particularly effective. In fact, that shot is probably top-30 quality right now, especially when he is on song. The sheer power he can generate off that wing makes it a weapon to be feared.
But Nakashima will have to work hard to keep his unforced error count – and nerves – in check. This will be the first meeting between the pair and Nakashima must be accounted the favourite, both ranking-wise and form-wise. In this match-up of aggressive players, the one who manages to control his errors will come out on top. Expect that to be Nakashima.
Prediction: Nakashima in 3
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