The opening day of action in Rotterdam saw all but one of the expected favourites, Robin Haase, move on to the second round. Day two at the ABN Amro Open will see much of the rest of the draw begin their campaigns. But who will come out on top from Tuesday’s clashes?
David Goffin vs Gael Monfils
This duo will be playing second on Tuesday following the match between Milos Raonic and Philipp Kohlschreiber. Goffin leads their head-to-head 3-1 but given their respective recent form, the Frenchman is arguably the favourite going into the match. Goffin’s record this year is a disappointing 2-3 and barring the Australian Open, where he reached the third round (lost to Medvedev), Goffin has yet to win a match.
At the two other events Goffin has played so far this year, the Qatar Open at the start of the year in January and in Montpellier last week, he lost first round. Monfils has fared better with four wins and two losses to his name in 2019, highlighted by his semifinal showing at the Sofia Open last week (lost to Medvedev). Most importantly, he looks to be playing injury free.
Prediction: Monfils in 3
Kei Nishikori vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert
Considering the relative lack of star power in Rotterdam this season, the first-round encounter between Nishikori and Herbert could be called a clash of the titans. Nishikori, the top seed in Rotterdam is playing his first tournament since retiring from his Australian Open quarterfinal against Novak Djokovic in January. But aside from that disappointment, it has been a fine start to the year for the world #7, who won the title in Brisbane to commence the new season and has an 8-1 win-to-loss record.
Herbert, meanwhile, received a special exempt in the main draw in Rotterdam following his exploits in Montpellier last week. Indeed, whilst there is no doubt about his doubles prowess, he has been reminding the tennis world of his capabilities on the singles court in 2019. Starting the season in Doha, he made it to the quarterfinals. He backed that up by reaching the third round at Melbourne Park before making a run to the final in Montpellier.
However, against Nishikori, Herbert may hit a premature road-block in Rotterdam.
Prediction: Nishikori in 3
Marius Copil vs Ernests Gulbis
This match pits two lucky losers against each other after Copil lost in the final round of qualifying to Thomas Fabbiano whilst Gulbis lost to Simon at the same stage. However, following the unexpected late withdrawals of Roberto Bautista Agut and Lucas Pouille, the Romanian and Latvian were granted reprieves and will face off for a place in the last 16.
Both lost in the second round last week with Copil falling at the Sofia Open, where he reached the final last season, and Gulbis in Montpellier. Copil did score an impressive win over Stan Wawrinka in the opening round in Sofia, but his form in 2019 has been shaky at best. That would appear to give Gulbis a slight advantage in this match.
Prediction: Gulbis in 3
Gilles Simon vs Tomas Berdych
Simon and Berdych have played each other 14 times and have evenly split their past meetings. But of the two, it is Berdych, making a comeback into the cut-and-thrust of competitive tennis after an injury-related hiatus, who has been more consistent in his results so far this year. Both the Czech and the French player played in Montpellier last week, but with rather different results.
Whilst Berdych impressed in reaching the last four (lost to Herbert), Simon exited in the opening round to his compatriot and eventual champion, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Simon’s game-style that relies on drawing out the error from his opponent will find a tough ask against Berdych, who has been hitting his stride on the tour. Given the latter’s form this year, he has posted a win-to-loss record of 10-3, the former world #4 looks to be the favourite going into this contest.
Prediction: Berdych in 3
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