Unfortunately, Day 4 at the ATP Houston Challenger was rained out. But, that makes Day 5 all the more exciting! Who will win and who will fall in round of 16 action on the hard courts in Houston? Read on to find out!
ATP Houston Challenger Day 5 Predictions
Gonzalo Escobar vs Alexis Galarneau
Head to Head: never played
Gonzalo Escobar has been playing very well this week, not dropping a set. He picked a big straight sets win over Darian King in the previous round. Escobar’s powerful, heavy lefty forehand and serve are very tough for opponents to handle. Alexis Galarneau picked up a huge second round upset over Donald Young in three sets to reach the round of 16. Galarneau’s backhand will have to be ready for cross-court rallies with Escobar’s forehand and Galarneau’s ability to hang in these rallies will most likely determine this match. Escobar has the two best weapons on the court, in his serve and forehand, and expect Escobar to overpower Galarneau.
Prediction: Escobar in 2
Alexey Vatutin vs Jason Jung
Head to head: tied 1-1
Alexey Vatutin did well to come back from a set deficit in the second round to beat Diego Hidalgo. Vatutin tries to dictate from the baseline and has a very good forehand. Jason Jung comfortably beat Daniel Nguyen in the previous round. Jung is a very clean ball striker and doesn’t have a lot of topspin on his shots. He is also very consistent from the baseline and can counterpunch well. These two have split their head to head matches, with Jung winning on clay and Vatutin winning on hard court. Expect Jung to frustrate to Vatutin with his consistency and ability to turn defense into offense. Jung moves on, but it will take three sets.
Prediction: Jung in 3
Pedja Krstin vs Mitchell Krueger
Head to Head: 2-0 Krueger
Pedja Krstin picked up an unusual win over Nick Chappell in the previous round, where it went three sets, but every set was 6-1. Krstin, while having flat groundstrokes, is more comfortable on clay than on hard courts. Mitchell Krueger is very comfortable on hard courts and won easily over Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves in the second round. Krueger’s serve and backhand are the keys to his game, with his backhand being particularly impressive. Krueger comfortably won the two previous meetings, with both matchups occurring on hard. Krstin doesn’t have the weapons to challenge Krueger on this surface and expect Krueger to win this one without too many issues.
Prediction: Krueger in 2
Marcos Giron vs Jenson Brooksby
Head to Head: never played
Marcos Giron fought through a tough challenge by Brandon Holt in the previous round. Giron is so solid and can counterpunch very well. Jenson Brooksby easily beat Gonzalo Villanueva in his second round match. Brooksby, who broke through by qualifying for the US Open, is very good at playing with controlled aggression. However, in this match, I expect Giron to wear Brooksby down. Giron will get a lot of balls back in play and cause Brooksby to overhit a little too much. While it will be close, Giron moves on to the quarterfinals.
Prediction: Giron in 3
Main Photo from Getty.