TENNIS • 10SBALLS • RICKY’S PREVIEWS AND PREDICTIONS FOR THIS WEEK’S ATP EVENTS IN METZ AND ST. PETERSBURG

Written by: on 16th September 2018
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TENNIS • 10SBALLS • RICKY'S PREVIEWS AND PREDICTIONS FOR THIS WEEK'S ATP EVENTS IN METZ AND ST. PETERSBURG  |
Photo by @MoselleOpen via Twitter

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

The fall swing is getting started this week in Metz and St. Petersburg, where some respectable fields by 250-point standards are on display. Kei Nishikori and Stefanos Tsitsipas are leading the way in Metz, while Dominic Thiem begins the home stretch of his bid for a Nitto ATP Finals place as the No. 1 seed in St. Petersburg.

 

Moselle Open

Where: Metz, France

Surface: Indoor hard

Top seed: Kei Nishikori

Defending champion: Peter Gojowyczk

 

Defending Davis Cup champ France booked a return trip the final this past weekend and some of its standouts will be taking the court in Metz. Lucas Pouille has a first-round bye as the No. 3 seed, Benoit Paire is in the same section of the bracket, and countrymen Richard Gasquet, Adrian Mannarino, Gilles Simon, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are also on board. Tsonga has been sidelined by injuries since early February and he is not being greeted with a favorable draw. Up first for the 33-year-old is 2017 Metz winner Peter Gojowyczk and the winner has to go up against Nishikori in round two. Nishikori is on a collision course for the quarterfinals with U.S. Open fourth-round performer Nikoloz Basilashvili.

 

In the bottom half, Tsitsipas and Gasquet are owners of the opening-round byes. Both have seemingly favorable paths through the tournament, although Tsitsipas could have a difficult quarterfinal on his hands against Mannarino. Gasquet will most likely run into compatriot Gilles Simon in the last eight, as the unseeded Simon’s nearest seeded is a struggling Filip Krajinovic.

 

Semifinal picks: Kei Nishikori over Lucas Pouille and Adrian Mannarino over Gilles Simon

Final: Nishikori over Mannarino

 

 

St. Petersburg Open

Where: St. Petersburg, Russia

Surface: Indoor hard

Top seed: Dominic Thiem

Defending champion: Damir Dzumhur

 

Thiem is bouncing back and forth from outdoor hard courts (U.S. Open), to red clay (Davis Cup playoffs), to indoor hard courts (this week). It is rarely a good thing when the Austrian is away from clay, on which he finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros and helped his country defeat Australia in a recent Davis Cup tie. Both the surface and his draw in St. Petersburg may hinder Thiem, who finds himself in a top quarter of the draw along with Daniil Medvedev, Joao Sousa, and Andrey Rublev. The second quarter is thoroughly underwhelming, as Marco Cecchinato has never won a hard-court match in his entire career and fellow seed Roberto Bautista Agut has been struggling with physical problems.

 

On the other side of the bracket, a blockbuster second-round battle between Karen Khachanov and Stan Wawrinka could be in the cards. Khachanov lost to Nadal in an entertaining third-round at the U.S. Open and Wawrinka, who opens in Metz with Aljaz Bedene, ousted Grigor Dimitrov in round one at Flushing Meadows. The bottom quarter of the Metz bracket features Fabio Fognini, Denis Shapovalov, and Martin Klizan.

 

Semifinal picks: Joao Sousa over Roberto Bautista Agut and Karen Khachanov over Denis Shapovalov

Final: Khachanov over Sousa

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @TennGrand.

 

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