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Pablo Andujar will have a tough match with Dominic Thiem in Kitzbuhel.
Pablo Andujar will have a tough match with Dominic Thiem in Kitzbuhel.|

Kitzbuhel Thursday Quarters: Abrams picks Thiem vs. Andujar, Verdasco vs. Sonego, Cuevas vs. Ruud, Ramos-Vinolas vs. Chardy

Matches start at 6:30 am EDT.

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

Generali Open

Kitzbuhel, Austria

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Men’s Quarterfinals

Dominic Thiem over Pablo Andujar

Pablo Andujar has had a nice two-week run, getting to the semis of last week’s tournament in Gstaad, and winning here against Leonardo Mayer and Philipp Kohlschreiber, but prior to that, he has shown dominance in only Challenger events. Andujar has not shown that he can beat, or even hang with, the elite players, and Dominic Thiem is nothing if not an elite player. Theim should have his way with his older rival and move on, proving again, that if you want to win on clay, you must be able to beat the Austrian.

Fernando Verdasco over Lorenzo Sonego

Lorenzo Sonego has beaten two pretty good clay court players this week in Frederico Delbonis and Roberto Carballes Baena, both 7-6 in the third. He won’t win another in a third set tiebreaker. Fernando Verdasco, even at 35-years-of-age is too tough for the Italian, and should use his lefty slice serve to dice him up.

Pablo Cuevas over Casper Ruud

Casper Ruud sure looked good in his first round win over Pablo Carreno Busta, whom he bested 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. He routined Matthias Bachinger in the second round to set up this quarterfinal matchup, but unfortunately for him, Pablo Cuevas is a different kind of an opponent. Cuevas specializes in playing on clay, and I don’t think Ruud’s slow court game is quite as nuanced and crafty as Cuevas’ game is. After all, this is the stuff the transplanted Argentinean makes his living on.

Albert Ramos-Vinolas over Jeremy Chardy

Last week Albert Ramos-Vinolas ran through five different opponents without losing a set in capturing the title in Gstaad. The week before that he busted through to the semis in Sweden, so for the past two weeks, including his victories here, he’s 10-1. That’s a tough streak to break, and I don’t think Frenchman Jeremy Chardy is quite up to the task. Chardy has had two excellent clay court wins here over Marco Cecchinato and Dusan Lajovic and has strung two wins together in two consecutive weeks for only the first time this year. He seems to struggle with stringing consecutive wins together. Ramos-Vinolas doesn’t show the same problem, and I think he’ll push his lifetime record over Chardy to 3-1.