ATP Bavarian International Day 1 Predictions Including Ernests Gulbis vs Martin Klizan

Day one at the Bavarian International Tennis Championships in Munich promises plenty of exciting action, although defending champion and top seed Alexander Zverev will not join the fray until day two. Nonetheless, there is no shortage of talent in the line up, including former French Open semifinalist Ernest Gulbis. But who will make their way into the second round?

Taro Daniel vs Ugo Humbert (first on Center Court)

In their first meeting, Japan’s Taro Daniel will face off against Frenchman Ugo Humbert at the Bavarian International. Daniel, who lifted the first and thus far only tour-level title of his career last season at the Istanbul Open, will be hoping for another strong clay-court campaign. He certainly has the tools to succeed on this surface, thanks to accurate groundstrokes and fine movement, although his serve can be a weakness.

Humbert, meanwhile, ranked eight places higher than his opponent but with rather less experience, enjoyed a breakthrough season in the Challengers in 2018. However, he has struggled to make a real impact on the main tour this year, winning just four of his twelve matches. But, he does have a useful, spinning forehand and, like Daniel, he covers the court very well. There looks to be little between this pair, but the 26-year-old Daniel’s experience might just prove decisive.

Prediction: Daniel in three.
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Marton Fucsovics vs Lorenzo Sonego (second on Center Court)

In another first-time match up, eighth seed Marton Fucsovics will clash with the high-flying qualifier Lorenzo Sonego, recently a quarterfinalist at the Monte Carlo Masters. The Italian’s excellent run in the Principality, which saw him upset eighth seed Karen Khachanov in straight sets, illustrates just how dangerous he can be on the clay. He will certainly not be an opponent Fucsovics takes lightly, particularly as Sonego, who battled past Yannick Hanfmann and Henri Laaksonen to reach the main draw, will be used to the conditions in Munich.

However, the big-hitting Fucsovics, a beaten finalist at the Sofia Open earlier this year, has quality of his own. When given time on his forehand, the Hungarian can do real damage and Sonego may need to play more aggressively than he is accustomed to in order to deny Fucsovics that time. But Sonego is playing the best tennis of his life and will surely come into this match full of confidence. That may well be enough to see him over the line against Fucsovics.

Prediction: Sonego in three
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Jan-Lennard Struff vs Thiago Monteiro (third on Center Court)

Home hope Jan-Lennard Struff has enjoyed an excellent start to the clay-court season, highlighted by his run to the quarterfinals at the Barcelona Open. There, he upset David Goffin and Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach the last eight before delivering a valiant performance in a 5-7 5-7 defeat at the hands of world #2 Rafael Nadal. He did, however, lose his only previous meeting with Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro, which came on the clay courts of the Oberstaufen Challenger in 2013, 6-7 2-6.

Monteiro, a clay court specialist, will almost certainly look to his movement and consistency from the back of the court to blunt Struff’s powerful attack in this contest. However, if the big German can recapture the sort of form he displayed in Barcelona that may prove a difficult ask for the Brazilian. Struff can hurt opponents with both his forehand and backhand, though it is the former which is his best shot, and he also possesses a powerful first serve. Expect him to overwhelm Monteiro.

Prediction: Struff in two
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Ernests Gulbis vs Martin Klizan (fourth on Center Court)

In what is surely the most intriguing match of the day on paper, Ernests Gulbis will take on Martin Klizan in their fourth career meeting. Both of their tour-level meetings came in 2014, with Gulbis winning in Nice and Klizan in Beijing. Their most recent meeting, however, came last season at the Bavarian International in the qualifying, with Klizan claiming a hard-fought 4-6 6-3 6-4 win. He may need to summon that sort of fighting spirit again to claim a much-needed win here after what has been a disappointing start to the clay-court season for the Slovakian.

The battle for supremacy between his vicious, spinning forehand and Gulbis’ driven, powerful two-hander should make for excellent viewing. Both men have enough power to hit winners from almost anywhere in the court and are at their best when playing aggressively and on the front foot. However, Gulbis, largely due to injuries, is a shadow of the player that broke into the top ten in 2014 and has won just four matches on tour this year. Don’t expect him to claim victory number five against Klizan.

Prediction: Klizan in three

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