Istanbul R2 previews and picks: Federer vs. Nieminen, Giraldo vs. Rublev

Fed 2Roger Federer will kick off his Istanbul campaign against Jarkko Nieminen on Wednesday. Santiago Giraldo and Andrey Rublev are also aiming for a place in the quarterfinals.

(1) Roger Federer vs. Jarkko Nieminen

Federer and Nieminen will be going head-to-head for the 15th time in their careers when they collide in round two of the inaugural Istanbul Open on Wednesday. All 14 of their previous encounters have gone Federer’s way and the 33-year-old Swiss is 28-1 lifetime in total sets against Nieminen. The two veterans have faced each other just twice on clay; Federer prevailed 6-1, 6-4 12 years ago in Munich and 6-1, 6-3 at the 2008 Hamburg event.

There is no real reason to think Nieminen can turn the tide this time around. Also 33, the Finn seems to be slowing down just a bit at No. 71 in the world. He is an even 8-8 in ATP tournaments this season after beating Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan 6-3, 6-4 during first-round action on Tuesday. Federer got a bye as Istanbul’s top seed. The world No. 2 is 17-3 for his 2015 campaign, but he is coming off a third-round Monte-Carlo loss to Gael Monfils. Federer does not have too many clay-court matches under his belt, but he should have more than enough to he past Nieminen–again–without too much trouble.

Pick: Federer in 2 losing 5-7 games

(4) Santiago Giraldo vs. (WC) Andrey Rublev

Rublev is starting to make a name for himself at just 17 years old as he makes yet another second-round appearance at the ATP level–this time in Istanbul. The up-and-coming Russian also earned match victories in Delray Beach (Dudi Sela), Miami (Pablo Carreno Busta), and Barcelona (Fernando Verdasco) before taking out Damir Dzumhur 6-3, 6-3 on Tuesday.

Up next for the world No. 292 is a first-ever meeting with Giraldo, who was dealt a bad draw as the defending runner-up in Barcelona and fell in the last 16 to Kei Nishikori. The 50th-ranked Colombian got off to a slow start in 2015 but is showing signs of progress with an addition third-round appearance in Miami and a quarterfinal performance on the clay courts of Houston. Rublev has never won back-to-back matches at an ATP tournament and clay favors Giraldo, so the favorite is likely to take care of business.

Pick: Giraldo in 2

6 Comments on Istanbul R2 previews and picks: Federer vs. Nieminen, Giraldo vs. Rublev

  1. Federer almost lost to Gimeno Traver today,in this kind of form he should exit the French open before the QF

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