The ABN Amro Open in Rotterdam was rocked by a spate of player withdrawals, both in the days leading up to the tournament draw and even after it. Despite several high-profile names dropping out of the event on account of various injury-related concerns, the first ATP 500 of the season continues to be bolstered with a solid player presence, adding to the depth of the draw.
Here are the prediction for the first day of play in Rotterdam:
ATP Rotterdam Day 1 Predictions
Andreas Seppi vs Peter Gojowczyk
The Italian has had a tumultuous road coming into Rotterdam. Two weekends ago, he was instrumental in helping Italy advance in Madrid against India in the Davis Cup qualifiers. However, he lost in the opening round of the Sofia Open in Bulgaria to eventual finalist Marton Fucsovics the following week.
Against Gojowczyk, who has won their only previous meeting – albeit on clay, at the 2018 Geneva Open – Seppi looks like he is continuing to tread dangerous waters. However, the Pole will be coming into the match fresh after his three-set marathon in the final round of qualifying against Andre Rublev.
Prediction: Seppi in 3
Mikhail Kukushkin vs Robin Haase
In terms of rankings, there is not much that separates these two. The Kazakh player is ranked 53rd while the Dutchman is placed two spots lower, in the 55th place. Beyond rankings, both Kukushkin and Haase are fresh off pre-quarterfinal exits at the Sofia Open – the former losing to Gael Monfils in straight sets and the latter to eventual champion Daniil Medvedev in a three-setter.
The two have played against each other only once before, at the 2014 Winston Salem Open, and Kukushkin won that match in three sets. However, given that that result came about nearly five years ago, a different result could be in the offing on Monday. Prediction: Haase in 3
Hyeon Chung vs Nikoloz Basilashvili
\This will be the first meeting between the ninth-seeded Basilashvili – the only seed to play on the first day of main draw singles play in the event – and Hyeon Chung.
Basilashvili, who reached a career-high ranking of No. 20 in January this year is coming off a first-round loss in Sofia to the 180th-ranked Daniel Brands. The Georgian will, however, be keen to get back to the way he was performing right up to the Australian Open – which saw him reach the quarterfinals in Doha and the third round in Melbourne before his fortunes hit a blip.
Meanwhile, a similar tale can be told about his opponent of the day. Chung’s career trajectory took a turbulent downswing following his maiden Major semifinal at the 2018 Australian Open as injuries emerged as frequent road-blocks. In fact, this will be the South Korean’s first tournament after his second-round loss to Pierre-Hugues Herbert at Melbourne Park.
Prediction: Basilashvili in 2
Benoit Paire vs Stan Wawrinka
The former doubles partners will take on each other for the 12th time in their careers. The Swiss holds the edge in their head-to-head, winning eight of their 11 previous encounters.
Wawrinka who received a wild card in Rotterdam played the Sofia Open last week, losing to 2018 finalist Marius Copil in the first round in three sets. The Swiss, who is on a comeback trail after prolonged injury, will be looking to secure an easy path into the second round, where he could play Milos Raonic (who defeated him in the Australian Open second round).
While on paper, the three-time former Major champion will have an advantage over the Frenchman, Paire’s unpredictability makes this match difficult to gauge. Paire visibly tanked against Tomas Berdych – after complaining about the crowd’s raucous support – in Montpellier last week. But if his mercurial nature reasserts itself, Wawrinka could face some problems.
Prediction: Wawrinka in 2
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