Diego Schwartzman of Argentina at the Sydney International tennis tournament in January, plays today in Munich. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Diego Schwartzman of Argentina at the Sydney International tennis tournament in January, plays today in Munich. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)| Associated Press

Tennis Wednesday: At Munich’s BMW Open, Abrams picks the Round of 16 –  Zverev v Londero, Schwartzman v Garin, Fucsovics v Monteiro 

Matches start at 5 am EDT

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

BMW Open by FWU
(aka the Bavarian International Tennis Championships)
Munich, Germany
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Round of 16

Diego Schwartzman over Cristan Garin
For the second day in a row Diego Schwartzman got the prime starting spot of 11:00 A.M., leading off the card on Center Court before the sun even warms up the Munich’s slow red clay. Somebody should tell the tournament director that just because Schwartzman looks like he could be in high school doesn’t mean that he has to go to bed early. Believe it or not, the slight Argentinean is old enough to consume adult beverages, so they ought to give him the benefit of the doubt and some consideration so that he could begin his match play a little later in the day. He is, after all, the 6th seed here in Munich, and he’s entitled to some respect. Schwartzman is ranked No. 24, and on a Tour which seems to reward bigger, taller, stronger players, this 5’6” 140-pounder trades shots with the big guys and tends to beat them at their own game more often than not. He reminds me of Boc from “Wicked”—if you put a beanie on him you’d agree that it’s more likely that you’d see him on The Great White Way than competing as a professional athlete. But compete he does, and yesterday he walked away with a convincing three set win over Frenchman Benoit Paire, he of the dark black beard and the 6’ 5” frame that allows him to hit tough serves without getting off the ground. Schwartzman holds a 1-0 lifetime advantage against Garin, the 22-year-old from Chile, who rode a straight set victory over hometown qualifier Yannick Maden to set up this second round encounter. Garin is tough, gritty, and playing some fine tennis right now, but I like the Argentinean to be tougher and grittier in a match that could come down to a third set tiebreaker.

Sascha Zverev over Juan Ignacio Londero
One thing that has become very apparent, especially this year, is that tennis players, no matter who you’re talking about, are a bit streaky. It’s not just that they’re susceptible to the occasional clunker, or that they can’t be counted on to just win one match after another like a machine. Its that they’re human, and as such, are affected by so many factors that it’s hard to track which group of connected attributes might be tested today. Might it be that their serve will be attacked? Or how about their endurance? Might a particular player try to outlast his opponent today, or will it be that they’ll try to simply blast them off the court with hard hit winners? You just never know, as each player goes into each match with a different set of tools, and a mindset that could very possibly be entirely different than the opponent they played the day before. A left-handed opponent poses an entirely different set of shot patterns, and playing a guy with a two-handed backhand might mean that he can’t stretch wide and hit a drive – when he stretches wide the return will most likely be a defensive slice. A guy with a booming forehand might not be able to chip, block, or slice off that side, thus he’ll either try to hit a winner or a near winner, but nothing that could be construed to be an approach shot of any type. So, when a player like Sascha Zverev, who is ranked No. 3 in the world, behind Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, loses what appeared to be an easy match, like last week in Barcelona when he lost to qualifier Nicolas Jarry, or the week before when he went down to Fabio Fognini, on the Italian’s run to the title at Monte Carlo, it shouldn’t necessarily be looked at as a disaster, but rather a natural occurrence that will happen from time to time on the Tour. So will Zverev, the top seed here get taken out by Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero in his first match in Munich? I don’t think so, but if it happens, don’t freak out. Londero fought to take out Max Marterer 6-2 in the third in the first round, and Zverev got a couple of extra days of rest to come out fresh today. I think Zverev, at 22-years-old, is just getting used to the rigors of the Tour, like a lot of the other NextGen players, and should come out firing in his home territory. Here’s one interesting stat: Londero is 25-years-old and has accumulated a total of just about a half a million dollars in prize money. Zverev, at 22, has pocketed $16,380,000. I would say it’s been a good career choice for Sascha.

Marton Fucsovics over Thiago Monteiro
Thiago Monteiro qualified to get a spot in the main draw here, and he notched a couple of wins that should give him some confidence. The 24-year-old from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil took out Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Russian Andrey Rublev, both in three sets, to set up his main draw entrance and his second round encounter with 8th-seeded Marton Fucsovics after simply destroying the usually tough German Jan-Lennard Struff, who he strangled 6-1, 6-1 in a contest that was a match in name only. Fucsovics slipped by Italian qualifier Lorenzo Sonego 7-6 in the third, and after that one that could have easily gone the other way, seems to be playing on house money. If he looks on it as an opportunity to play loose and without pressure, Fucsovics should have little trouble with Monteiro. But like I pointed out above, the Tour is a funny place with funny things happening at all times. If Fucsovics tightens up, the match will be up for grabs.

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