As the Hall of Fame ceremony inches closer, the ATP tournament in Newport continues on! Who will advance in the last tournament of the season on grass? This tournament is a key opportunity for players who prefer grass to secure key prize money and ranking points.
ATP Hall of Fame Open Day 2 Predictions
Denis Kudla vs Bradley Klahn
Head to Head: 3-1 Kudla
Denis Kudla takes on Bradley Klahn in the first round of the Hall of Fame Open. Kudla had a fairly successful grass court season, going 8-6 and making the semifinals of a Challenger and the quarterfinals of an ATP Tour event in Stuttgart. Klahn won a hard court Challenger last week in Winnetka, but has struggled on grass this season, going 1-4.
Kudla leads the head to head 3-1, although they have never played on grass. This match will come down to whether or not Klahn is able to dictate with his huge lefty serve and forehand. If Kudla gets too defensive, Klahn could take control of this match. However, Kudla is significantly more experienced than Klahn on grass, and has much better results on grass over his career compared to Klahn. Kudla wins.
Prediction: Kudla in 2
Ramkumar Ramanathan vs Sergiy Stakhovsky
Head to Head: 1-0 Stakhovsky
Ramkumar Ramanathan and Sergiy Stakhovsky clash in the first round of Newport. Ramanathan, the defending finalist, qualified for the tournament with a three set win over Yuichi Sugita. Including qualifying, he has won six of his last seven matches at the Hall of Fame Open. Stakhovsky is a very good grass court player. While he is best known for beating Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2013, he has played well on grass throughout his career. Stakhovsky won an ATP Tour title on grass in Rosmalen.
Stakhovsky won the only meeting between these two players, at a grass court challenger last year. Both players have big serves and like to come to the net whenever possible. Ramanathan has done well to reach the final last year and qualify this year, but the road ends here in Newport. They might play a similar style, but Stakhovsky is just a little better than Ramanathan.
Prediction: Stakhovsky in 3
Christopher Eubanks vs Steve Johnson
Head to Head: Never Played
A trip to the second round of the Hall of Fame Open is at stake as Christopher Eubanks battles Steve Johnson. Eubanks has a 2-2 record on grass this season, and 3-5 over his career, but his flat, huge groundstrokes should (theoretically) be good on grass. Johnson is 4-4 on the grass this season, but his backhand slice has been very effective on the surface in the past. Johnson has won 1 Challenger and 2 ATP Tour titles on grass, including a Hall of Fame Open championship last year.
These two have never played before. Johnson’s returning will be put to the test, as Eubanks has a huge serve. But, Johnson is clearly comfortable on these courts, and in rallies he should be able to keep rallies alive and get Eubanks to overhit. Johnson’s backhand slice should also coax unforced errors from Eubanks. Johnson wins.
Prediction: Johnson in 2
Mischa Zverev vs Tim Smyczek
Head to Head: 2-0 Zverev
Mischa Zverev takes on Tim Smyczek in the first round of the Hall of Fame Open. Zverev, when playing well, is very tough to beat on grass. He has a very good serve and net game, and won the only ATP Tour title of his career on grass, in Eastbourne last year. However, Zverev is in a major losing funk, only having one two matches all season, and only one match that was not in qualifying. He won that match via retirement. While only going 1-1 on grass before this tournament, Smyczek was able to qualify for Newport when he beat John Patrick Smith in three sets. Smyczek made the semifinals of Newport last year before losing to Ramkumar Ramanathan.
Zverev leads the head to head 2-0, with both wins occurring on US hard courts last season. However, Zverev is not nearly the player he was last year, and it’s hard to pick him to win any match. Smyczek will get a lot of balls back, and test Zverev’s consistency. Zverev will need to serve well to win this match, but I’m not confident in any aspect of his game right now. Smyczek moves on.
Prediction: Smyczek in 3