Matches start at 6 am EDT
Nature Valley International
Eastbourne, Great Britain
Thursday Men’s Singles picks
Sam Querrey over Fernando Verdasco
Querrey sure feels at home on the grass after beating two foes, and holds a 4-1 lifetime mark against Verdasco. They’ve never played on grass, but both of them are equally adept on the stuff, so I doubt the surface should have any profound effect on their rivalry. Besides, Verdasco hasn’t beaten the American in ten years.
Kyle Edmund over Dan Evans
This is a nice match between two Brits who both feel comfortable on grass. Kyle Edmund is more of a volleyer than Evans, and I think that should make the difference between the two.
Gilles Simon over Thomas Fabbiano
It might sound like a cliché, but Frenchman Gilles Simon is really playing great tennis and he’s on a roll on top of it. Thomas Fabbiano is here because he took out second seeded Laslo Djere, who is really a dirtballer. To have him seeded second on grass is a disgrace, and confirms Wimbledon’s decision to adjust their seedings with input on the players’ grass court records considered as a factor. Simon should roll.
Taylor Fritz over Hubert Hurkacz
This match is really a “pick-em,” but I’m going with the American because he looks so confident and comfortable playing that I keep thinking that he has the ability to beat most players at this point in his career. Hurkacz is a terrific player, and we’re going to hear a lot about him in the future, but I think Fritz is just a bit farther along in his development.
Turkish Airlines Open Antalya
Thursday Men’s Singles picks
Pablo Carreno Busta over Bernie Tomic
Good Lord, what is Bernie Tomic doing in the quarters? I can’t remember the last time he won two matches in a row, but he did here in Turkey. Maybe the tropical climate agrees with him, but he shouldn’t get too used to it, as he’ll go down to Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta. These guys have split their only two matches played, but that should have no bearing on this contest. Tomic has been a dog for so long I just can’t see him making the semis anywhere, until he turns over a new leaf. That won’t happen here.
Miomir Kecmanovic over Viktor Troicki
I’d love to see Viktor Troiki, a 7-6, 7-6 winner over top-seeded Benoit Paire, get to the semis, but I just don’t think he’s ready for that yet. Although he has a storied past, he’s still recovering from injury and surgery, and that often takes way long to recover from. Kecmanovic is a very tough 19-year-old who serves bombs. The grass should give him a lot of free points, enough to win this match.
Jordan Thompson over Damir Dzumhur
I’m surprised that Jordan Thompson is playing this week in Turkey when he could be competing in England where he’d feel far more at home. But he must know something, because he’s on the verge of making the semis, with a good shot at winning this title. He should beat Damir Dzumhur, who is dangerous, but entered this tournament only 5-10 for the year. For contrast, Thompson, after a bye and his second round win, is 20-12.
Adrian Mannarino over Lorenzo Sonego
Over the past few weeks Adrian Mannarino has shown that he can excel on grass. He should slide by the Italian, Lorenzo Sonego, who is as much of a dirtballer as you can get. Sonego had a nice second round win over Prajnesh Gunneswaran, a very good grass court player, but his run should end now. Mannarino looks very tough and I expect to see him in the semis.