The ATP Tour returns to Delray Beach for a 31st consecutive year as the South Florida city hosts this ATP 250-level event. Americans Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul highlight the 28-man draw as the top two seeds, but as we saw last week in Dallas, anything can happen at this United States 250. We have five first-round matches on Day 1 of the Delray Beach Open, including Yoshihito Nishioka vs Oscar Otte. Who do you think will advance?
ATP Delray Beach Day 1 Predictions
Jordan Thompson vs Denis Kudla
Head-to-Head: Thompson 4-1 Kudla
Jordan Thompson has not started the 2023 season in the best of form. That said, a match against Denis Kudla should be comforting as the Aussie has dominated the head-to-head against the American. Thompson bested Kudla last week 6-1 7-5 in the Dallas Open first round. I expect Kudla to show more fight in this match, but I still trust the Aussie more from the ground. Look for Thompson to target the Kudla backhand as an area where he can find success.
Prediction: Thompson in 3
Nuno Borges vs Steve Johnson
Head-to-Head: Borges 1-0 Johnson
Nuno Borges and Steve Johnson met for the first time on Sunday, playing in the final round of Delray Beach Open qualifying. Borges dispatched Johnson 6-2 6-2 to earn a spot in the main draw, but Johnson was given a Lucky Loser entry into the draw. The two will play for a second consecutive day, but I expect the same result to come to fruition. Borges was able to bully Johnson around the court, and I do not see how the American flips the script a day later.
Prediction: Borges in 2
Tung-Lin Wu vs Emilio Gomez
Head-to-Head: Wu 1-0 Gomez
Tung-Lin Wu picked up an impressive qualifying win over Brandon Holt and enters this main draw with a lot of confidence. Wu now matches up with Emilio Gomez, a player he beat last year. Gomez is coming off his first appearance in an ATP quarterfinal after beating Miomir Kecmanovic last week in Dallas. With both Wu and Gomez filled with confidence, I expect an entertaining match between them in Delray Beach. I give the slight edge to Wu, who can lean on his serve to help power him through pressure points.
Prediction: Wu in 3
Michael Mmoh vs Aleksandar Kovacevic
Head-to-Head: Mmoh 4-0 Kovacevic
Michael Mmoh has dominated the head-to-head over Aleksandar Kovacevic, winning all four of their previous meeting. This, however, will be the first time they will square off in a tour-level main draw. Kovacevic comes into this match riding a five-match winning streak after taking home the title at the Cleveland Challenger. Kovacevic’s win in the final over Yibing Wu is a lot more telling after Wu was able to hoist the trophy in Dallas last week. I expect these two to play a very back-and-forth match with the player who holds his nerves in the big moments to come out on top.
Prediction: Mmoh in 3
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Oscar Otte vs Yoshihito Nishioka
Head-to-Head: Otte 1-0 Nishioka
No. 5 seed Yoshihito Nishioka will square off against Oscar Otte in round one in Delray Beach. Coincidently, Otte won their only previous meeting in round one in Delray Beach last year. Since that match, Nishioka has risen over 70 spots in the rankings to his current position of World No. 34. He has started this year in fine form, holding a 6-2 record while reaching the second week at the Australian Open. On the other hand, Otte is just 2-5 this year and 7-19 dating back to Wimbledon 2022. Otte would have to play an excellent match to beat the consistency Nishioka has shown of late. I do not see that happening.
Prediction: Nishioka in 2
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