Tennis / tsitsipas

Basel, Vienna Indoor ATP 1/8 Finals: Previews & Predictions
It was another good day for the young stars of the ATP Tour yesterday as three of the four youngsters I wrote about here all came through their first matches after all three won their last tournaments - Daniil Medvedev is in action today. Next Gen players Kyle Edmund, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Karen Khachanov all recorded victories in the finals of last weeks events - respectively The European Open, The Stockholm Open and The Moscow Open. Edmund's Solid Performance Lends Itself to Another Win Today Edmund in action yesterday in Vienna - ATP World Tour Kyle Edmund Edmund's match yesterday was as anticipated to be the hardest of the three, he was facing an Argentinian who has also won an ATP title this year and poses the biggest obstacle from a defensive point of view out of the three opponents. Edmund did very well to finish Schwartzman off in two sets, the second going to a tie break where he broke free early on. The Brit kept up the intensity that enabled him to get past the defense of Gael Monfils to win his first ATP title in Belgium. Yesterday the Brit took the majority of his opportunities he had on short balls to pile the pressure on Schwartzman's defensive capabilities breaking decisively in the 8th game game of the first set, taking the first break point he conjured. Schwartzman also had one break point chance in the first game of the first set almost catching Edmund cold on serve, if he had taken that opportunity the match may have very well gone to three sets. But after Edmund held he did not allow the Argentine another chance. The second set was very tight with neither player having even a single break point chance though Edmund looked the more threatening of the two players on return of serve. He bossed the set with his forehand and this proved the difference in the tie break when he went up 4-0 before finishing the tie break 7-3. Today Edmund plays a very different sort of player to Schwartzman in the Vienna ATP 500 - Fernando Verdasco. This is the first time the two have ever met, Verdasco upset fellow Brit Andy Murray last month in Shenzhen and the previous month in the US Open. But it won't be as easy for him against an in form Kyle Edmund. Murray who typically plays a defensive game that can sometimes play into the hands of aggressive baseline players like Verdasco did not find his feet after his return from injury so it's very difficult to assess just how well Verdasco played in those two games. Edmund plays a far more aggressive style of tennis, he prefers to be the one out in front, winning or losing matches off his own racket and although Verdasco has a potent forehand himself, Edmund's is the more dominant of the two. You can expect a lot of winners to be hit in this match with few prolonged rallies. Verdasco has enjoyed some good runs this year, in Shenzhen he got to the Semi Finals but was frustrated against the defense offered by Japan's Nishioka. He has fallen foul of Del Potro twice this year as well who coincidentally possesses a forehand equally if not more ferocious than Edmund's. When he Verdasco comes up against a player who hits consistently harder off the forehand than he does he seems to cave. Interestingly enough Verdasco lost earlier in the year in his only final apperance against Kyle Edmund's opponent yesterday - Diego Schwartzman in Rio de Janeiro on clay back in February. Match Prediction: Verdasco could catch Edmund out in a few games meaning again a straight sets win is not a 100% backer here. Safer is just to opt for a Kyle Edmund win at 1.44. I can't see Verdasco having enough fire power or endurance to stick with Edmund over the entire match. The ageing Spaniard now at the age of 34 will likely tire when trying to cope with Edmund's pace off the serve and forehand. I think Edmund will win this one too. Edmund at 1.44 and given his performance yesterday against the far more trickier opponent of Schwartzman I am tempted to go for Edmund at 2-0 too at 2.10 (75% chance of this correct score happening for me). Khachanov Faces Perhaps His Stiffest Test Yet in Vienna Karen Khachanov may have won in Moscow last week impressively coming through in the Semi Finals against Daniil Medvedev before completing a formality in the final but yesterday he looked wobbly on serve. He was broken 3 times in 2 sets so even though he eventually came through in straight sets against one of the home tournaments men and World Number 137th Dennis Novak it was hardly the most convincing of victories. Khachanov's style of playing is even more risky than Edmund's. Where as Edmund looks to dominate on his forehand, his shot selection is more shrewd than Khachanov's, he doesn't always look to hit with his full power. Khachanov could do with calming down during games somewhat as the power he looks to unleash on every single shot just isn't realistic. The towering Russian hit's the ball way too flat to be looking for so much speed off all his ground strokes and this can lead to a lot of unforced errors and wobbles on his service games at decisive moments. This can leave him susceptible against far more experienced, refined players like the one he faces today. In Nishikori he will face an opponent with one of the safest but also most effective double handed backhands in the game. So Khachanov will have to be careful not to get frustrated and caught up in points that are simply not winnable by looking to hammer the ball from impossible angles. More patience will be needed if he wants a chance of overcoming Nishikori. It was his fellow counter part Medvedev (who Khachanov beat last week in the Semi Final in Moscow) that shocked Nishikori in the Tokyo final a few weeks back. Medvedev in that game hit the ball cleanly but he didn't always go for so much off his forehand or backhand, instead opting to just land the ball deep. Khachanov could do with taking a leaf out of his fellow countryman's book here in Vienna. Match Prediction: Not surprisingly Khachanov is the slight underdog here at 2.00 compared to Nishikori at 1.70. I think Khachanov can catch out Nishikori here with his power, especially if his serve his firing but at times he will have to be patient to get his reward. Still he has the chance to give Nishikori a ground hog day being the second Russian to oust him in two tournaments. But it will likely take him 3 sets to do so as Nishikori has been looking more like his old self for every tournament he plays after returning from injury. I'd advise on the win for Khachanov without a correct score. Stefanos Tsitsipas Can Continue His Greek Heroics Today Tsitsipas in action yesterday in Basel - ATP World Tour - Stefanos Tsitsipas Tsitsipas defeated France's Jeremy Chardy yesterday in straight sets. It's always difficult to evaluate a player on return of serve when their opponent produces 8 double faults in two sets at Chardy did yesteday. But Tsitsipas did for the majority of the two sets look solid on his own serve giving away just one game in the first set and two break point opportunities - none in the second. Chardy is hardly the greatest of returners preferring to rely on his own serve to win matches and possibly pinch a game or two. Hitting 8 double faults clearly didn't allow him this luxury where he was broken three times in the first and was lucky not to be broken in the second. Tsitsipas today faces another opponent similar to Chardy, Germany's Peter Gojowczyk who again could prove a sticky opponent for Tsitsipas to shake off. He's a disciplined player who always gives 100% effort in his matches - very typical of a German. Gojowczyk is more than capable of stealing a set off Tsitsipas, even given the Greek's form so a straight sets win like yesterday is not a forgone conclusion for the young Greek. Match Prediction: Go for a win for Tsitsipas but avoid any correct score here unlike yesterday's straight sets win prediction. The odd's are not particularly attractive (1.33) but given the young Greeks form and potential this should be a banker nonetheless.