After just two main draw matches Sunday in Cincinnati, the 2019 ATP Western & Southern Open first-round continues with the most exciting story of the day being Andy Murray’s first singles match in seven months. Who will advance? We also have predictions for other Monday matches.
ATP Cincinnati Monday Predictions
Ivo Karlovic vs Jan-Lennard Struff
Head-to-head: Struff 2-0
At 40 years of age, Ivo Karlovic just keeps on breaking a record after record. The Croat is the first player of this age who played the main draw in Cincinnati since 1973, and he qualified for the tournament in dramatic style, having saved three match points against Tennys Sandgren in the deciding set tie-break. Almost every match Karlovic plays is a lottery decided by a point or two and it should be no different against Struff. The German will have more chances on the return and whether he will be able to take them or not will decide the outcome of the match.
Prediction: Struff in 3
Adrian Mannarino vs Christian Garin
Head-to-head: Mannarino 1-0
Garin captured two ATP titles this season but he hasn’t won a hard court match since January. This might be the perfect opportunity for the Chilean to get some form going as Mannarino has had just one good tournament the whole year (the Frenchman captured his first career title at the Libema Open). The kind of game Mannarino has can’t really be compared with anyone else though and an inexperienced player like Garin might find it hard to dominate him in rallies. The Frenchman got two good wins in Montreal (over Kukushkin and Coric), and he will force Garin to make adjustments which at this stage of his career you shouldn’t expect him to make.
Prediction: Mannarino in 3
Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Miomir Kecmanovic
Head-to-head: Auger-Aliassime 1-0
The Canadian wunderkind didn’t disappoint in Montreal, defeating two fellow Canadians (Pospisil and Raonic) and reaching the third round. In this battle of 19-year-olds, he comes in as a big favorite with 31 ATP main draw matches won this season, including runner-up finishes at Rio de Janeiro, Lyon, and Stuttgart and a semifinal at the Miami Open. Kecmanovic will be no pushover as he qualified here with good straight-set wins over Feliciano Lopez and Antoine Hoang. Despite the Canadian’s game still being very raw and vulnerable to poor patches of play, Auger-Aliassime is a well-equipped all-round hard court player that can easily adapt to the situation he faces. He should be too strong for his 11-months-older opponent.
Prediction: Auger-Aliassime in 2
Andy Murray vs Richard Gasquet
Head-to-head: Murray 8-3
The Brit chose to take a wild card for the tournament and play his first singles match since the Australian Open. Murray had a hip resurfacing surgery and decided to build up his comeback at doubles. He hasn’t lost to the Frenchmen on hard courts since 2007, but for obvious reasons he won’t come into this match as a big favorite. Gasquet also had an operation this year (hernia), but he’s already been back for three months. He finally picked up some steam last week, taking down Benoit Paire and Kei Nishikori in Montreal. If Murray decided to play that means he’s ready, and the Brit’s lack of singles match play won’t prevent him from being the mentally tougher one here.
Prediction: Murray in 3
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