In what promises to be an entertaining conclusion to the ATP San Diego Open, third seed Marcos Giron will take on his countryman Brandon Nakashima, seeded fifth, in an all-American final. Both men have played some fine tennis this week and both will surely be determined to win their first tour-level title. As always, we here at LWOT will be offering our preview and prediction of the final, but who will come out on top at the Barnes Tennis Center.
ATP San Diego Final Prediction
Marcos Giron vs Brandon Nakashima
Head-to-head: Nakashima 1-0 Giron
This has been one of the best weeks of Giron’s career. The 29-year-old has spent much of his career playing at Challenger and Future level, but he has established himself as a tour-level regular over the last couple of years and he has taken advantage of his experience so far at the ATP San Diego Open. He started his week with a 6-4 6-3 win over Tomas Martin Etcheverry and backed that up by beating James Duckworth 7-6 6-3. He then upset top seed Dan Evans 6-3 7-5 to reach the final.
Nakashima, meanwhile, had to work hard for his first-round win over his compatriot Zachary Svajda, but eventually got the better of the young gun after two hard-fought sets. His second-round win over Denis Kudla was more straightforward, but he was taken the distance by Daniel Elahi Galan in the quarterfinals, but hung tough to beat the Colombian 6-3 4-6 6-4. Nakashima then beat Australia’s Christopher O’Connell 6-4 7-6 to book his place in his third tour-level final.
Expect this to be a baseline battle. Both Nakashima and Giron are solid off both wings and they also cover the court well. Where Nakashima might have an advantage is in his greater power from the back of the court. The 21-year-old has more attacking options than Giron, with his forehand in particular a shot to be feared. As a result, Giron will have to deny Nakashima time on the ball as much as possible. Fortunately for Giron, he has the tools to do that.
He is adept at using his slice to disrupt opponents’ rhythm and is generally comfortable playing counter-punching tennis. He also has power of his own and if he will not be able to match Nakashima blow for blow, he does have the quality to hurt his opponent. Nerves may be an issue in the biggest match of his career so far, but they do not appear to have affected him so far this week and if he can keep them in check, expect him to have just about enough to win his first title.
Prediction: Giron in 3
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