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ATP Rome Day 1 Predictions Including Richard Gasquet vs Yibing Wu

Richard Gasquet French Open

The ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid has come to a close after two whole weeks of action and, in its wake, we have another–now in Rome. The two-week event in Rome has a jam-packed round of 128 on day one with plenty of great matches to watch. As always at LWOT, we’ve tried to predict the outcomes of them. We also predict the rest of the day’s matches, split between three articles. One features Andy Murray vs Fabio Fognini, the second highlights Ilya Ivashka vs Stan Wawrinka, and the third features Jaume Munar vs Thanasi Kokkinakis. Who do you think will in?

ATP Rome Day 1 Predictions

Tomas Martin Etcheverry vs Luca Van Assche

Head-to-head: First meeting

If it wasn’t clear before, we’re telling you now–it’s taken an exceptional level this year to defeat Tomas Martin Etcheverry on a clay court. The Argentinian by no means fluked his way to two finals, defeating Garin, Lajovic, Baez, both Cerundolos and Fognini in those runs alone.

Whilst the scalp list isn’t as elite for Luca Van Assche, his tennis has also raised some eyebrows with his two Challenger wins in March (not to mention his win against Wawrinka in Banja Luka). This will likely be a very close contest but we’re backing Etcheverry given his game is just a touch more polished than the 18-year-old’s.
Prediction: Etcheverry in 3

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Alexei Popyrin vs Christopher O’Connell

Head-to-head: First meeting

Alexei Popyrin is knocking on the door of a big result. His losses have been promising, falling to slightly better players on the day (his last three losses have been Molcan, Halys and Jarry, all in three sets). His serve is universally effective on every surface and his heavy forehand can do a lot of damage with its kick.

Christopher O’Connell could be in trouble here. Though his one-handed backhand will allow him to wrestle control of extended rallies, it could leave him vulnerable against the one-two punch of the Aussie’s serve and forehand. If the match drags on, O’Connell would become the favourite but we’re expecting a straight-sets performance from Popyrin.
Prediction: Popyrin in 2

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Alexander Bublik vs Pedro Martinez

Head-to-head: Martinez 1-0 Bublik

Alexander Bublik impressed everybody at the Madrid Masters by very nearly knocking out Holger Rune. Don’t be fooled though–Bublik took advantage of the conditions at altitude there to assist him on serve. He then went to Aix En Provence to play on far slower clay where his serve percentages dipped considerably in his loss to #241 Harold Mayot.

Pedro Martinez may have lost a lot recently but his level is definitely still there on the surface. When matches have been tight, Martinez hasn’t delivered but it’s unlikely this one is close if he’s playing near his best on clay.
Prediction: Martinez in 2

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Richard Gasquet vs Yibing Wu

Head-to-head: First meeting

One-sided losses to established clay-courters Diego Schwartzman (whose form hasn’t been great) and Alex Molcan suggest Yibing Wu hasn’t found the stark adjustment required to exceed on ATP clay-courts compared to ATP hard-courts.

Perhaps Wu could have ground out a win against a player without the clay-court pedigree of Richard Gasquet. Unfortunately the Frenchman knows his way around the surface and absolutely has the court-craft to punish Wu for a lack of intent on his shots.
Prediction: Gasquet in 2

Main Photo Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports


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