10sBalls.com

Ricky’s Picks For Day 5 Of The French Open Tennis, Including Thiem vs. Bublik And Zverev vs. Ymer

Alexander Zverev of Germany plays John Millman of Australia during their men?s first round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 28 May 2019. EPA-EFE/CAROLINE BLUMBERG
Alexander Zverev of Germany plays John Millman of Australia during their men’s first round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 28 May 2019. EPA-EFE/CAROLINE BLUMBERG

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer may be on the other side of the French Open draw, but nonetheless there is no shortage of options for French Open attendees on Thursday. Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev are facing on-the-rise opponents, while Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro are also in action.

 

Ricky previews three of Thursday’s matches and makes his predictions.

 

(4) Dominic Thiem vs. Alexander Bublik

Thiem is a clear favorite to advance out of his quarter of the French Open draw and reach the SFs, while also being a somewhat realistic choice to reach the final and perhaps even capture the title. Nonetheless, the 2018 RG finalist had a hard time making it out of the first round. Thiem trailed Tommy Paul 4-0 in the third-set tiebreaker with the match tied at one set all, but he recovered to take the ‘breaker and eventually prevail 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2. The world No. 4 is now 18-8 this season, which is highlighted by his first career Masters 1000 title in Indian Wells plus an additional triumph on the red clay Barcelona.

Up next for Thiem is a first-ever matchup with Bublik, who comes in one spot off his career-high ranking at 91st. The 21-year-old Kazakh’s 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-1, 7-6(2) win over Rudolf Molleker in round one was just his ninth on the main tour (third this season). Bublik has all the talent with which to trouble team, but his propensity for low-percentage shots will likely be his undoing in the key moments of each set.

Pick: Thiem in 3

 

Taylor Fritz vs. (18) Roberto Bautista Agut

Taylor Fritz of the USA plays Bernard Tomic of Australia during their men?s first round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 28 May 2019. EPA-EFE/JULIEN DE ROSA

Taylor Fritz of the USA plays Bernard Tomic of Australia during their men?s first round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 28 May 2019. EPA-EFE/JULIEN DE ROSA

Bautista Agut and Fritz will be going head-to-head for the second time in as many weeks, as they just collided in Lyon. Fritz prevailed 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-4 for his first win over the Spaniard in his third attempt.

Is another upset in the cards for Thursday? It is not out of the question, because an in-form Fritz lost a mere six total games during his opening-round rout of Bernard Tomic. RBA also cruised on Tuesday (d. Steve Johnson), but in general he has cooled off since a hot January, February, and March. This is a good opportunity for Fritz to victimize Bautista Agut for the second time in the span of less than 10 days.

Pick: Fritz in 5

 

(Q) Mikael Ymer vs. (5) Alexander Zverev

Surprisingly given their respective young ages, Zverev and Ymer faced each other on the main tour back in 2015. That was when Zverev was just 18 and Ymer was only 16, but the former was already a household name at that point and the latter got a wild card into the main draw of the Stockholm event in his native Sweden. Zverev prevailed by an unexpectedly competitive 7-6(9), 6-7(5), 6-4 scoreline, although that match hardly means anything in advance of this much different kind of match in 2019.

Zverev is now a staple of the top five, but he registers two spots off his career-high ranking of No. 3 at which he finished 2018 after winning the Nitto ATP Finals. He is struggling this year, although he is quick to point out that it is “struggling” only by his lofty standards. Zverev owns a 20-10 record and he just triumphed in Geneva last weekend before scraping past difficult opponent John Millman in five sets on Tuesday. It has already been a productive stay in Paris for Ymer, who qualified for the main draw and then disposed of fellow qualifier Blaz Rola in straights. The 20-year-old Swede will use his speed to make Zverev work hard, but he does not have the firepower necessary to pull off an upset.

Pick: Zverev in 4

 

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *