ATP Italian Open Day 1 Predictions Including Philipp Kohlschreiber vs Gilles Simon

Italian Open

Main draw action starts on Sunday at the 2019 Italian Open. Although the top seeds will not join the fray until later in the week, a lot of excitement still looks to be in the offing on the first day of play in Rome.

ATP Italian Open Day 1 Predictions

Philipp Kohlschreiber vs Gilles Simon

Head-to-head: Simon leads 5-4

In a battle of the veterans, Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber will take on Gilles Simon of France. Simon leads the head-to-head overall, but he has lost both of his clay-court matches against Kohlschreiber. Both are yet to find their best tennis on the red clay so far this season, but Kohlschreiber has been the more consistent player of the two. He won a round in Madrid last week, beating Mikhail Kukushkin before losing to Frances Tiafoe in the round of 32. Simon, meanwhile, fell at the first hurdle, losing in three to qualifier Hugo Dellien, the world #109.

Long rallies seem certain to be the order of the day in this contest, with neither Kohlschreiber nor Simon possessing much power, but both unlikely to make many mistakes. But Kohlschreiber has historically played his best tennis on clay, whereas Simon has typically been more at home on hard courts. That is reflected in their head-to-head, as mentioned above. As a result, expect Kohlschreiber to take this one fairly comfortably.

Prediction: Kohlschreiber in two
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Steve Johnson vs Jannik Sinner

Head-to-head: First meeting

17-year-old Jannik Sinner has been enjoying a breakthrough season in the lower tiers of the men’s game, at one point winning two ITF titles and a Challenger, his first, in a row. Steve Johnson, meanwhile, is a regular on the main tour, but has endured a miserable start to the season. He is still waiting for his first win of the year on the dirt after losing his opening matches in Houston, to Daniel Elahi Galan and in Madrid, to John Millman.

Sinner was granted a wildcard into the main draw at the Italian Open and will be playing just the third tour-level match of his young career. Fortunately for the Italian, he is up against almost the perfect opponent. Johnson has quality, but his backhand, which he struggles to come over, is a real hole in his game, especially on a clay court, though his forehand is a weapon Sinner will need to be wary of. Nonetheless, expect Sinner to get the upset, with some help from the Italian crowd.

Prediction: Sinner in three
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Roberto Bautista Agut vs Andreas Seppi

Head-to-head: Bautista Agut leads 2-0

Andreas Seppi, surely approaching the end of his career, arrives at the Italian Open in dreadful form, having lost his last eight matches. However, he has had some excellent results on home soil in the past, beating both John Isner and Stan Wawrinka in 2012. Clay is also Bautista Agut’s worst surface. The Spaniard’s flat backhand, such a useful weapon on a faster court, is a liability on the clay and Seppi will surely know it. But he doesn’t have the firepower to hit through Bautista Agut, who covers the court superbly on every surface. Nor, at this late stage in his career, does it seem likely that Seppi will have the consistency or the legs to outlast his opponent.

Prediction: Bautista Agut in two
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Lucas Pouille vs Matteo Berrettini

Head-to-head: First meeting

Matteo Berrettini may be a wildcard at the Italian Open, but the big-hitting 23-year-old is in the form of his life and is on the cusp of breaking into the world’s top 30. He recently lifted his second tour-level title in Budapest before reaching the final at the Bavarian International a week later (lost to Christian Garin). During that memorable run, he defeated Pablo Cuevas, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Filip Krajinovic. He is also almost certain to number amongst the seeds at Roland Garros.

French #2 Lucas Pouille, meanwhile, has struggled since his miraculous Australian Open semifinal run. However, he did recently win a Challenger in Bordeaux, before defeating Borna Coric in the first round of the Madrid Open. But that form proved fleeting as Pouille turned in a dreadful performance against Hubert Hurkacz in his next match, losing 5-7 1-6. Against the fearsome power Berrettini can summon from the back of the court, and with the crowd certain to be against him, it is hard to see Pouille getting back to winning ways in Rome.

Prediction: Berrettini in two

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  1. Holy sh!T man! Very impressive! Unless you wrote this AFTER the matches ended, you really know your stuff. Are you a betting man? We all have very high hopes for Sinner here in Italy, and we all thought Stevie J would be the single best opponent he could draw (to the point that some insinuated an “Italian job” had been pulled off…). But none of us expected him to actually win. Especially after having played a grueling schedule over the last few weeks. He looked pretty gassed in the Ostrava final against Majchrzak, and even worse last week in pre-qualis (where he lost in the final to Andrea Basso, only getting the WC once Seppi moved up and gained direct entry). And nobody certainly believed he could win after seeing him totally outclasses in the first set – – a true deer in the headlights! But hey, you’re 4 for 4… well done! Look forward to seeing how you fare tomorrow 🙂


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