Main draw action at the Winston-Salem Open begins on Sunday. While five Americans are still fighting their way through qualifiers, Denis Kudla will begin his campaign. Here’s a look at the four opening round matches to kick off the Winston-Salem Open, and predictions for who’ll move through to the second round.
Denis Kudla vs Robin Haase
Head to head: First meeting
Denis Kudla should gain a modicum of confidence playing on home soil. America certainly loves and supports its countrymen. Sitting at World #111, Kudla comfortably wins against players in the 150-200 range. The difficulty comes against those sitting in the Top 100 – Gael Monfils notwithstanding. Statistically speaking, Robin Haase should be squarely in the American’s wheelhouse for chalking up a win.
Robin Haase can surprise. The Dutch has been excelling on the doubles courts. In the last three tournaments partnered with compatriot Wesley Koolhof, Haase reached the finals. Perhaps Haase can translate that doubles success to his singles, ala Sir Andy Murray? Yet, it will remain a challenge for Haase to break through the Kudla serve.
Prediction: Kudla in 2
Marius Copil vs Martin Klizan
Head to head: Copil 0-1 Klizan
Martin Klizan’s strong serve should prove a challenge for Marius Copil, considering the Romanian has difficulty capitalizing on break points. Klizan has four wins and 11 losses on the hard courts in 2019. Not an impressive record, but if his serve is on, that record should go up one in the win column.
Prediction: Klizan in 2
Lloyd Harris vs Jaume Munar
Head to head: First meeting
Lloyd Harris and Jaume Munar square off in the first round. Munar tends to favor the clay court as evidenced by his winning record on that surface. On faster surfaces, the Spaniard loses his defensive edge, winning barely one-third of his matches on hard courts.
Lloyd Harris will further take away Munar’s strong defense if his thunderous serve finds its mark. The South African seems to be following the format of his compatriot Kevin Anderson. The powerful first serve is a true weapon.
Closely ranked, Munar and Harris are both looking to build up some ranking points and create upward trajectory. Harris has the bigger weapons and though he may struggle at times, he should find his way into the second round.
Prediction: Harris in 2
Tomas Berdych vs Andreas Seppi
Head to head: Berdych 8-2 Seppi
Tomas Berdych is still trying to find his form. After a nearly four-month absence while recuperating from a back injury, the Czech was eliminated in the first round of Wimbledon. Moments of brilliance gave way to unforced errors at the most inopportune times. It’ll be a tough go against the veteran Italian Andreas Seppi, who tends to play his best on hard courts. While the head to head favors Berdych, I don’t see that a reliable factor while Berdych is still getting matches under his belt.
Prediction: Seppi in 3
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