Stevie Johnson, won the 2018 Hall of Fame Open and is back to defend his title.
Stevie Johnson, won the 2018 Hall of Fame Open and is back to defend his title.|

Tennis Tuesday: Abrams picks two matches at the Hall of Fame Open – Johnson vs. Eubanks, M. Zverev vs. Smyczek

These matches from Newport, Rhode Island go off at 1:40 pm and 3 pm EDT

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

Hall of Fame Open

Newport, RI

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Men’s First Round

Stevie Johnson over Chris Eubanks

This battle between two Americans should be interesting, as they both serve well, and on the grass in Newport, that’s especially meaningful. Eubanks, the young Georgia Tech grad is not much from the baseline, and I think that’s what will spell his downfall. Although groundies don’t mean a ton on this stuff, you still have to be able to get the ball in and pass once your opponent comes to net, and Eubanks has a bit of difficulty in that area, particularly on his backhand. What Johnson has learned over the years is simply to slice his backhand, or better yet, don’t hit it at all, and he has perfected that style. It doesn’t serve him well on either slower courts, or when he comes up against a veteran who knows how to play him, but Eubanks isn’t that player.

Mischa Zverev over Tim Smyczek

This is something you’ve never seen me do before: pick Mischa Zverev, the older brother of Sascha, to actually win a tennis match. Mischa has exactly one win this whole year, and that was because he got a retirement from his opponent way back in March. But he has a 2-0 record against 31-year-old American Tim Smyczek, who sports an 0-1 record himself in 2019. Zverev has lost so much that he is now ranked #209 (he started the year at #68), and this match against Smyczek, who is ranked #221 should be a battle to see who might climb into the top 200. I’m not sure who deserves it, but I’m guessing it’s Mischa.

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