With the clay court season underway, we take a look at some of the interesting matchups from the ATP 250 tournaments being held in Estoril, Portugal and Houston, USA.
ATP Estoril, Portugal
Dominic Thiem vs Ben Shelton
Time: 4:30 PM IST
It’s been great to see Dominic Thiem back to winning ways after his impressive come-from-behind win against fellow Austrian Sebastian Ofner. Thiem has had a tough few seasons with injuries, but will be hoping for a good run in Portugal to set himself up nicely for the clay court season. He faces the big-serving American youngster Ben Shelton in the round of 16 match later today.
The match up will definitely be tougher for Thiem physically as the American will be relatively fresher after his straight sets win against Constant Lestienne. Shelton is a relatively unknown entity on clay and Thiem can emerge victorious with a fast start in this match up.
Prediction: Back Thiem to win
Luca Van Assche vs Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
Time: 4:30 PM IST
This is the first meeting between the Frenchman and Spaniard and it promises to be an exciting one. Luca Van Assche has been in splendid form on clay this year, winning his last 11 matches and beaten the likes of Alexandre Muller, Juan Pablo Varillas and Vit Koprova along the way.
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina will only be playing his first top level match on clay this year so it remains to be seen whether he can pick up where he left off on the surface last year. We expect a tough matchup between the two, with many breaks exchanged. Form on clay certainly sides with Van Assche at the moment.
Prediction: Back Luca Van Assche to win a set
ATP Houston, USA
Max Purcell vs Daniel Altmaier
Time: 8:30 PM IST
Australian Max Purcell is a hit and miss player on clay, playing brilliantly on some occasions and faltering badly on others. His opponent German Daniel Altmaier is a far more consistent performer on the surface. A lot will depend on which version of the Australian turns up on the Texas clay courts tomorrow.
Prediction: Back Daniel Altmaier to win