Chinese tennis fans will have the chance to witness one of their most talented breeds take to the court at the ATP Zhuhai Championships. That youngster is Juncheng Shang who has one eye towards the Next Gen ATP Finals. Every point between now and the end of the regular ATP season will be priceless for the 18-year-old if he wants to end up in Jeddah. Can he shock the experienced Mackenzie McDonald? In addition to that match, we’ve got a separate article predicting the rest of the day’s matches in Zhuhai. Who will progress to the Round of 16?
ATP Zhuhai Day 2 Predictions
Marc Polmans vs Dane Sweeny
Head-to-head: Sweeny 2-1 Polmans
Marc Polmans cruised through the qualifying draw, dropping a combined five games in two matches. His compatriot Dane Sweeny had a more testing route to get to the main draw, coming from a set down to defeat Felip Peliwo and Dominik Palan. Sweeny leads their head-to-head, but Polmans enters this match high in confidence. Polmans’ biggest obstacle before this match was whether he could pick himself up after losing the Guangzhou Challenger final this past week where he spurned three match points in the final. And his response was excellent. He is a solid favorite here.
Prediction: Polmans in 2
Aleksandar Kovacevic vs Kimmer Coppejans
Head-to-head: Coppejans 1-0 Kovacevic
Aleksandar Kovacevic lost ground on making the world’s Top 100 during the US swing, but he can atone for an unproductive spell with a good run in tournaments during the autumnal Asian swing. He’s got a tricky opener against Kimmer Coppejans, a stoic competitor with such a massive forehand. The Belgian’s big weapon is tailor-made to hurt opponents on clay which makes their footwork a little sloppy. So Kovacevic’s skillset gives him a slight advantage on hard courts and he’ll be aware of not falling for the same trap as the last time they played in Busan.
Prediction: Kovacevic in 2
Luke Saville vs Tomas Martin Etcheverry
Head-to-head: Etcheverry 1-0 Saville
Tomas Martin Etcheverry made his Davis Cup debut this past week as a rampant Argentina team overwhelmed Lithuania 4-0 on home soil to clinch their place in the 2024 Finals qualifiers. It would have been a total failure had they fallen short, particularly for a country replete with the talents of Etcheverry and Sebastian Baez who are both at the top of their game. Etcheverry will need to make quick adjustments from clay to hard courts here. His record on hard courts is wanting, but he did beat Luke Saville in their only head-to-head clash in the Adelaide qualifying this season. The 29-year-old Australian plays on the ITF these days, weathering a ranking fall for long-term gains. But this comes at a cost, as he can’t test himself with the elite.
Prediction: Etcheverry in 2
Cristian Garin vs Zhou Yi
Head-to-head: first meeting
Cristian Garin’s resurgence took shape in the first half of the campaign, earning a Top-10 win during his run to the fourth round of Indian Wells as a qualifier. But a broken rib during the clay court swing halted his progress. He ended up missing the French Open. His choice to return to clay courts after making a full recovery was hardly the best idea. He got the results he needed and his confidence, but he was undercooked for the North American hard courts. Garin failed to win a main draw match in three tournaments in North America and suffered an ignominious exit in the first round of the US Open qualifying to Titouan Droguet. But it is time for the Chilean to roll up his sleeves again and get back in the winner’s column with what looks like the most straightforward of victories against the relatively unknown Zhou Yi.
Prediction: Garin in 2
Mackenzie McDonald vs Juncheng Shang
Head-to-head: first meeting
This is a massive moment in the young career of Jungcheng Shang. The 18-year-old will play on his home court on the ATP Tour for the first time. But beyond that, Shang enters a crucial stretch in his season as he seeks to meet the cut-off points to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Mackenzie McDonald has had a super season, his best on Tour for a number of reasons. He’s scored the most ATP wins in a single season in his career, surpassing last year’s total of 26. And testament to his progress, he’s broken the world’s Top 40 this week. Without taking into account the USA’s Davis Cup campaign that bordered on catastrophe and shock, he should be able to bounce back. His sturdy baseline game should stifle the teenager’s stoic offensive game.
Prediction: McDonald in 3
Main Photo Credit: Susan Mullane – USA TODAY Sports