Dominic Thiem in Madrid in May 2019. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Dominic Thiem in Madrid in May 2019. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)|Associated Press

Tennis Wednesday: Abrams picks Hamburg Open 2nd Round – Chardy vs. Gasquet, Thiem vs. Fucsovics, Londero vs. Basilashvili, Ruud vs. Rublev

Matches start at 5:30 am EDT

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

Hamburg European Open

Hamburg, Germany

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Men’s Second Round

Jeremy Chardy over Richard Gasquet

Chardy beat compatriot Benoit Paire in the first round here, a result that I didn’t expect, so he’s playing effective tennis. And one thing’s for sure, these Frenchmen have history against each other over better than a decade. Gasquet holds a 5-2 lifetime advantage over Chardy, but the past four matches they split, and Chardy won the last (and most recent) match they played, on clay, just two months ago in Rome. Gasquet is, by tennis’ terms, a geezer. He’s played his best tennis, and he no longer has the desire to fight and compete. His first round win over qualifier Sumit Nagal was meaningless. I like Chardy to win this match just because he will still compete.

Dominic Thiem over Marton Fucsovics

These guys haven’t played in five years, and both of their matches, which Thiem won, were played in Challenger events. But Fucsovics couldn’t win a set in either, and although the matches were played long ago in a universe that the ATP doesn’t recognize, it means something to the players. Fucsovics will remember his beatings as soon as they start the warm-up, and try as he might, he won’t beat Thiem.

Juan Ignacio Londero over Nicoloz Basilashvili

I made the point yesterday that Basilashvili, at No. 16, is very over-ranked. Londero is a fine player, especially on clay, and beat the Georgian in straight sets just two months ago at Roland Garros. He’ll do it again.

Casper Ruud over Andrey Rublev

Ruud and Rublev appear to me to be two pretty closely matched players. They’re both young (20 and 21, respectively), quickly improving pros (ranked No. 69 and No. 78, respectively) who will put on a good show for the fans. This is the first match between them, and as always, winning that first match against an opponent, especially one that you are likely to play a lot over the next decade, means a lot. I like Ruud because he’s beaten some pretty solid players over the past six months (Paire, Evans, Kyrgios, Kecmanovic, Gulbis, Berrettini, Dellien, Souso) while seeming to improve all along. Rublev, while holding a win over Cristian Garin (who beat Ruud twice), Dan Evans, Jo-Willie Tsonga and Marin Cilic, he also has losses to Paul Jubb (a college player for South Carolina), Mats Moraing (ranked No. 223) and Mackie McDonald (No. 81). These wild swings in wins and losses happen to young players just making their bones on the Tour, but I think Ruud will out-steady Rublev, as the Russian will try to out-serve the Norwegian.

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