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ATP Houston Day 2 Predictions Including Jordan Thompson vs Yibing Wu

Jordan Thompson in action ahead of the ATP Shanghai Masters.

Eight exciting matches are scheduled on Day 2 of the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships at ATP Houston. This is the only ATP clay-court tournament to be held in the United States. It is a rare chance for the lower-ranked players to win a title at the tour level. So, who will advance into the second round?

ATP Houston Day 2 Predictions

Luciano Darderi vs Denis Kudla

Head-to-head: first meeting

Kudla was a semifinalist at the San Luis Potosi Challenger this past week. The event was contested on clay, although the draw was kinder for the American, ending up beating players like Bernard Tomic and Vasek Pospisil. The 31-year-old will play second fiddle to Italy’s rising star Luciano Darderi, who sits at a career-high ranking of no. 72 when they clash in Houston. The 22-year-old sensationally lifted a maiden ATP title as a qualifier in Cordoba in February. He hasn’t stopped winning on clay, reaching a quarterfinal at his most recent tournament in Santiago at the start of March. Expect Darderi to upstage the veteran here.

Prediction: Darderi in 2

Michael Mmoh vs Juan Pablo Varillas

Head-to-head: first meeting

Michael Mmoh reached the last eight as a lucky loser on his last trip to ATP Houston in 2022, although he only needed to win one main draw match (beating the now-retired Sam Querrey). That said, Mmoh doesn’t have a strong affinity for clay. He owns a negative win-loss record on the surface. At the same time, the American is entangled in a sticky patch this season. He is 6-9 in all competitions, losing his last four matches.

Juan Pablo Varillas struggled to get going in his first two tournaments on hard courts in January. However, since switching surfaces during the Golden Swing, he has enjoyed an upturn in fortunes. The Pervuain won the Santiago Challenger in mid-March and made back-to-back semifinals in his last two clay-court tournaments. All signs point to a Varillas victory here.

Prediction: Varillas in 2

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Thanasi Kokkinakis vs Aleksandar Kovacevic

Head-to-head: first meeting

Aleksandar Kovacevic is the player with all the momentum in this matchup. The American has won 14 of his 22 matches this season at all levels. But one stat that makes for grim reading for Kovacevic fans is that he was 0-5 on clay last year. Since turning pro in 2021, the 25-year-old has not played more than four tournaments on the dirt in a single season. Kokkinakis retired in his singles match in Miami but competed in doubles alongside Stefanos Tsitsipas. Unless it is a serious ailment, this match should be on the Adelaide native’s racket.

Prediction: Kokkinakis in 2

Jordan Thompson vs Yibing Wu

Head-to-head: Wu 1-0 Thompson

2023 was a mixed year for Yibing Wu. He became the first Chinese man to win an ATP title when he triumphed in Dallas. But later during the season, he collapsed on the court at Wimbledon and Washington. The 24-year-old was forced to shut down his season after losing in the Asian Games last September. Wu has since clarified his situation. His premature end to last season was caused by a minor foot surgery rather than heart complications. He qualified for the main draw in Houston in his first official tournament of 2024.

Jordan Thomspon was winless in March, but he can be forgiven for that poor run. Before that, the Australian captured a maiden ATP title in Los Cabos in incredible fashion. Now that he has replenished his depleted energy, he will fancy his chances of getting into the winner’s column.

Prediction: Thompson in 3

Main Photo Credit: Sam Greene – The Enquirer – USA TODAY NETWORK


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