Friday was a good day for the seeds at the ATP China Open in Beijing, barring Stefanos Tsitsipas’ shock defeat to Nicolas Jarry. The towering Chilean can break into the Top 20 with a deep run this week and has a winnable second-round match on Saturday. Germany’s Alexander Zverev will look to gain further ground in the Race to Turin but faces a potential roadblock against Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. The first batch of quarterfinalists will be determined on Day 3. So, who will advance?
ATP Beijing Day 3 Predictions
Nicolas Jarry vs Matteo Arnaldi
Head-to-head: first meeting
Nicolas Jarry sent Stefanos Tsitsipas packing with a straight-sets win that for the most part looked like a stroll. The big-serving Chilean piled up 28 winners to just 12 unforced errors and won a healthy 83% first-serve points. The Greek fashioned just two break points in the entire match which were wiped off almost instantly. Jarry could surpass his previous career-high mark of #22 with another win. His next opponent will be Italy’s Matteo Arnaldi, who obliterated J.J. Wolf in his opening match. Arnaldi had a rollercoaster qualifying campaign in Beijing in which he saved three match points against Daniel Elahi Galan. But he has rolled his sleeves up and given a full demonstration of his blossoming talent. Still, Jarry’s relative comfort on this surface and in these bouncy conditions should tip this match in his favor.
Prediction: Jarry in 3
Andrey Rublev vs Ugo Humbert
Head-to-head: Rublev 3-1 Humbert
Rublev and Humbert needed three sets to overcome their first-round opponents. The Russian had a more testing opener against British No. 1 Cameron Norrie, winning 6-4 in the third. Rublev has one of the best records of fighting back from a losing position in 2023, having tallied his 10th three-set win of the season. Humbert finished off strongly, serving a 6-0 set against Lorenzo Sonego. In the past, this has been a very good matchup for Rublev, whose powerful forehand and sturdy baseline game makes him unplayable when he is on. He’s also been a textbook example of perseverance and resilience, so if this one goes the distance, the Russian will still hold the edge given the aforementioned record.
Prediction: Rublev in 3
Daniil Medvedev vs Alex de Minaur
Head-to-head: Medvedev 5-2 De Minaur
Daniil Medvedev’s meeting against Tommy Paul was expected to be an early tournament skirmish. It was one of those rare instances pitting two players ranked in the world’s Top 15 in the first round. It was anything but close, as Medvedev lay waste to the American, dropping just three games. His next opponent, Alex de Minaur, is a player he will be expected to beat contrary to their recent head-to-head. Over the past 12 months, de Minaur leads the series 2-1 (Medvedev is 5-2 up overall). In the build-up to the US Open, Medvedev was burdened by expectations and we didn’t get to see him play his best tennis. In fact, he lost to the Aussie in Canada. However, he has let his hair down since the U.S. swing, taking a vacation in Europe to recharge and reset. His Beijing adventure started with a bang. de Minaur was a bit fortunate to survive a thrilling three-set win over Murray who exposed a few chinks in his armory. Medvedev will capitalize.
Prediction: Medvedev in 2
Alexander Zverev vs Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
Head-to-head: Zverev 3-1 Davidovich Fokina
Eighth seed Alexander Zverev survived a huge scare on Friday as he completed a gusty comeback to secure his spot in the round of 16. The German was foiled by Diego Schwartzman while he served for the first set. He ended up dropping the set in a tiebreak. But for the second successive match, Zverev’s powers of recovery came to the fore. He lost just six points behind his first serve in sets two and three.
Davidovich Fokina, for his part, cantered to the second round with a 6-2, 6-2 win over home wild card Zhou Yi. The Spaniard will most certainly be the fresher of the two players. He won his opening match on Thursday and got a day to let the lactic acid fade. By contrast, Zverev appears to be running on fumes after winning the title in Chengdu. It’s almost as if history could be repeating itself here. When the German won the title in his hometown in Hamburg, he lost in the second round of his next tournament to Davidovich Fokina 6-1, 6-2. It’s unlikely Zverev will throw in another stinker, but that title-win hangover might override any progress in Beijing.
Prediction: Davidovich Fokina in 3
Main Photo Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports