First-round action concludes on Day 2 of the ATP China Open in Beijing. Daniil Medvedev and Carlos Alcaraz are the two headliners, but six more names in the world’s Top 10 will garnish this star-studded ATP 500 event on Friday. Who will book their spots in the Round of 16?
ATP Beijing Day 2 Predictions
Holger Rune vs Felix Auger-Aliassime
Head-to-head: Rune 1-1 Auger-Aliassime
If we are meant to draw any conclusions from this year’s Laver Cup, it could be that Auger-Aliassime has turned a corner. Witty, concentrated, and playing to his potential. The kind of attributes that deserted him in two-thirds of the campaign. This will be a very interesting match for a number of reasons. Opponent Holger Rune recently made a bold move to part company with Patrick Mouratoglou and has rehired longtime coach Lars Christensen. The young Dane has lost seven matches in a row including a three-set defeat to Thiago Monteiro at the Davis Cup. There are question marks regarding his back, but he says he’s fully recovered. It appears Auger-Aliassime has rediscovered his lost confidence just in time for a crucial stretch in his season and he’s the likelier to win this one.
Prediction: Auger-Aliassime in 3
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Nicolas Jarry
Head-to-head: Tsitsipas 2-2 Jarry
Stefanos Tsitsipas is taking a low-key approach to his private life with his girlfriend Paula Badosa, contrary to social media rumors of a possible breakup. The Greek wants to achieve some balance between his professional and personal life. We’ll see which version of Tsitsipas will turn up for this one. But being so sedate in his game won’t bring him any joy. If he wants to get into the winners’ column he’ll need to bring energy and a proactive game plan. Nicolas Jarry is a player who maximizes on his big weapons and has pushed the Greek very close each time they played. A three-setter could be in the offing and the fourth seed will probably live up to the billing as the favorite.
Prediction: Tsitsipas in 3
Alexander Zverev vs Diego Schwartzman
Head-to-head: Zverev 3-2 Schwartzman
Alexander Zverev won his second title of the season at the Chengdu Open this past week. He rallied from a set down to beat an in-form Roman Safiullin. I don’t think Zverev gets so much credit for getting his season back on track after recovering from a horrible ankle injury. The turnaround has been magnificent. By contrast, Diego Schwartzman has fallen down the pecking order. A former world No. 8, and one of the most agile and astute baseliners in recent years, it’s been tough to watch the Argentine’s demise this season. He retired in his last match in Zhuhai while trailing 3-6, 2-4 to World No. 285 Alex Bolt. It remains to be seen if he’ll even be in competitive shape to test a fatigued Zverev. But regardless, there’s only one winner here.
Prediction: Zverev in 2
Daniil Medvedev vs Tommy Paul
Head-to-head: Medvedev 1-0 Paul
When he spoke during the pre-tournament press conference, Daniil Medvedev compared the China Open draw to that of a Masters 1000. He was not wrong. Medvedev will face high-flying Tommy Paul who is ranked 13th in the world rankings in his opening match. That is as stern a test as you can possibly get in a first round. But the second-seeded Medvedev couldn’t have chosen a more opportune time to play the American. Paul has lost four in a row across all competition including a dismal showing at the Davis Cup where the USA suffered an ignominious group stage exit. Medvedev will add to the agony.
Prediction: Medvedev in 2
Main Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports