ATP Lyon Open Day 3 Predictions Including Felix Auger-Aliassime vs John Millman

Lyon Open

Day three at the Lyon Open in southern France sees the start of the second round. As a result, the top seeds are set to join the fray on what should be an entertaining day of tennis at the Parc de la Tete d’Or. But who will come through to book their place in the quarterfinals at this French Open warm-up event?

ATP Lyon Open Day 3 Predictions

Hubert Hurkacz vs Pablo Cuevas (first on Court One)

Eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz announced himself with a run through the French Open qualifying in 2018 before impressing against Marin Cilic. Nearly a year later, he has broken into the top 50 and is continuing to play good tennis, recently extending top-ten stalwart Alexander Zverev to three sets at the Madrid Open. But to win his first meeting with the experienced clay-court specialist Pablo Cuevas, the Pole may have to find his very best tennis. The Uruguayan recently reached the final at the Estoril Open (lost to Tsitsipas) and won a Challenger in Aix-en-Provence.

Hurkacz does have the power to take the racquet out of Cuevas’ hands, however. Equipped with a formidable serve and a particularly impressive two-hander, the 22-year-old has weapons that Cuevas simply cannot match. But Cuevas does move very well and will make few mistakes off the ground. He also spreads the court effectively, which could pay dividends against Hurkacz, whose movement is not a major strength. It certainly seems likely that this one will be tight. But expect Hurkacz’s greater power to prove just about decisive.

Prediction: Hurkacz in three
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Benoit Paire vs Mackenzie McDonald (second on Court Central)

The Lyon Open will play host to a battle between the Tricolour and the Stars and Stripes as home hope Benoit Paire takes on Mackenzie McDonald in first-round action. Paire, a wonderfully gifted but rather temperamental player once ranked as high as 18th in the world, has had a perhaps typically indifferent season. He did qualify for the Italian Open recently but lost to Radu Albot in the first round. McDonald, the NCAA champion in 2016, is, like most Americans, not exceedingly comfortable on the clay. His only wins on the surface so far this season came in Barcelona where he reached the third round.

In what will be the first meeting between the pair, the crucial shot seems likely to be Paire’s backhand. It is an excellent shot and the linchpin of the Frenchman’s game. If he can deploy it regularly against McDonald, the American, though a good mover, seems likely to struggle. However, if McDonald is able to keep the ball away from the Paire backhand and direct it instead against his forehand he will surely be rewarded with unforced errors. But with the crowd firmly on his side, Paire should have the impetus to play this match on the front foot.

Prediction: Paire in two
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Pierre-Hugues Herbert vs Steve Johnson (third on Court Central)

In another Franco-American contest, seventh seed Pierre-Hugues Herbert will take on Steve Johnson of the USA. The Frenchman currently leads their head-to-head 1-0 and comes into this match after a fine start to the season, with recent highlights including a run to the semifinals on the clay at the Hungarian Open. Johnson, in contrast, has struggled to find his best tennis so far in 2018, but did score a confidence-building 6-2 7-6 win over lucky loser Lloyd Harris in the first-round at the Lyon Open.

Herbert beat his countryman Jeremy Chardy in straight-sets in the first round which was arguably the ideal preparation for this contest. Both Johnson and Chardy have powerful forehands but can be exposed on the backhand side, particularly on a clay court. Johnson struggles to come over his backhand at all and although he does have a good slice, it lacks the same bite on clay that it has on grass and hard courts. It may prove a particular weakness against Herbert, who will surely target his approaches against that wing. If he does, expect him to be rewarded.

Prediction: Herbert in two
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Felix Auger-Aliassime vs John Millman (fourth on Court Central)

In a clash between youth and experience, the teenaged fourth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime will take on Australia’s John Millman in the first match between the pair. Auger-Aliassime is in the midst of a breakout season, with the highlight thus far has surely been his run to the Miami Open semifinals. But he has also played some good tennis on the dirt, despite some rather one-sided losses at the hands of the game’s elite figures. Millman, meanwhile, has made a rather disappointing start to 2019 after an excellent 2018, but did impress in dispatching Pablo Andujar 6-1 6-3 in the first round.

Auger-Aliassime’s groundstrokes already look impressively solid, with his forehand the standout shot, especially on a clay court. In Madrid, he went toe-to-toe with his big-hitting countryman Denis Shapovalov and came out on top. He then gave Shanghai Masters finalist Borna Coric a run for his money in Rome. Millman cannot match the young Canadian for power, but he is rock-solid from the back of the court and can run most opponents into the ground. Auger-Aliassime may be rising fast, but expect him to suffer a setback at the Lyon Open.

Prediction: Millman in three

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