Matches start at 5 am EDT.
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Round of 16
Radu Albot over Filip Krajinovic
I’ve become a real fan of Moldovan Radu Albot. At just 5’9” he’s become something of a dragon slayer on the Tour this year, coming into his own with a title (at Delray Beach) and a 14-7 record to go along with some serious sheckels he’s added to his bank account. Albot will have his hands full with Serbian Filip Krajinovic who is in the Round of 16 courtesy of his run through two rounds of qualifying and his gutsy three set win over Italian Andreas Seppi in the first round of the main draw. Albot, for his part, took out Serbian Sergiy Stakhovsky, a lucky loser, in the first round 5 and 4 to advance to this meeting. These guys have played twice before in Futures events, which, in their ultimate wisdom, the ATP has chosen not to count in official Tour statistics. Still, they split those two matches, with Albot winning when they played on clay in Germany in 2014. That match means nothing as it was so long ago, but when they get on the court they’ll recognize each other’s style, and Albot’s should triumph here and now.
Borna Coric over Robin Haase
This match is going to be close, no matter who wins, but I like the 15th ranked Croatian to overcome the 6’3” righthander from The Hague, The Netherlands. Coric is ranked 15th because he wins a lot, and with a 12-6 record going into this tournament, his winning percentage is over 65%---a rate that Major League Baseball teams would die for. Coric is considered such a mainstay on the Tour at this point that it’s hard sometimes to remember that he’s only 22 years old. After all, he’s been playing on the Tour since 2013. Haase, who has been on Tour since 2005 (!!), has some good wins but never seems to put it all together to challenge the big boys. Coric may not be in the top tier of players yet, but to Haase, he’s a big boy, and Haase won’t win this match.
Marin Cilic over Pablo Cuevas
Pablo Cuevas is having a good year this year. The 33-year-old veteran from Argentina who now lives in Uruguay sports a 9-8 record in 2019, and is considered particularly dangerous on clay. Cilic, the top seed here who is ranked No. 11 in the world, is playing this tournament just to get more match play under his belt, as he’s only played nine whole matches this year and needs more to get his timing and competitive zeal back. Cilic is far, far from his dominating self who won the U.S. Open back in 2014, when he had his best year on the Tour, but he should be able to get by this round and move into the quarters.
Laslo Djere over Jannik Sinner
Laslo Djere is a 23-year-old Serbian who is ranked 33rd in the world, has a winning 9-8 2019 record, and has been on the Tour for six years already. As a 23-year-old, Djere is the grisly veteran in this match, taking on 17-year-old Jannik Sinner, from San Candido, a village in northern Italy, who currently lives in Sesto, Italy. Sinner just won his first Tour main draw match on Tuesday by beating Hungarian favorite son and wild card Mate Valkusz 6-4 in the third after getting into the main draw as a lucky loser. Still, Sinner is seen as a comer, having beaten Czech veteran Lukas Rosol in the first round of the qualies here. I like Djere becaue he’s got more experience, more guile, and more game than the kid. But we’ll be hearing more from the 17-year-old Sinner as Father Time marches on.
Peter Gojowczyk over Nikoloz Basilashvili
There’s something about the way a guy plays tennis that stands out as a unique personal identifier. It’s like a fingerprint, a voice, the way someone kisses, or how they dance: it is unique to the individual, and is an immediate way of distinguishing someone from others who do the same thing. You can play someone when you are 18-years-old and not play them for 35 years, but when you’re 53 and you get back on the court with that same person, its like you have a time flashback in your mind and you recognize everything they do on court. The way they play makes an imprint on your mind, which, once revisited, distinguishes them from all others. I bring this up because Nikoloz Basilashvili is ranked 18 and Peter Golowczyk is ranked 85, and based on that, Basilashvili is seeded here in Hungary and is considered the favorite. But they’ve played twice before, in 2016 and 2017, and the German has won both contests on two different surfaces. When they get on the court and start their warm-up, those matches will go through both of their minds. They’ll remember their opponent’s style, like a fingerprint, and will probably revisit old patterns. If this happens, I like Gojowczyk, simply because he’s beaten the Georgian both times they’ve played.