Finals previews and picks: Simon vs. Tsonga, Raonic vs. Sousa

SousaIt will be an all-French battle in the Metz final when Gilles Simon and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga collide on Sunday. In St. Petersburg, meanwhile, the title is coming down to Milos Raonic and Joao Sousa.

Moselle Open: (3) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. (2) Gilles Simon

Simon and Tsonga will be facing each other for the 10th time in their careers at the ATP level and for the second time in the Metz final when they meet again on Sunday. They squared off at the same stage of this same tournament in 2013, when Simon triumphed 6-4, 6-3. Tsonga, however, continues to lead the head-to-head series (currently 6-3) after prevailing 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-2 at the 2014 Australian Open. The two veteran Frenchmen have clashed four times on indoor hard courts in France, with Tsonga holding a 3-1 edge in those contests.

Struggling somewhat at No. 17 in the world, Tsonga is coming off a decent quarterfinal performance at the U.S. Open. He has advanced this week with victories over Mischa Zverev, Nicolas Mahut, and Philipp Kohlschreiber–dropping sets to Zverev and Mahut in the process. Simon has been in complete cruise control while taking out Edouard Roger-Vasselin, Gilles Muller, and Martin Klizan. The second seed is a stellar 37-19 for the season and in contention for an alternate spot at the World Tour Finals. Simon clearly loves this event and the court is once again playing slow enough for him to handle Tsonga’s power.

Pick: Simon in 3

St. Petersburg Open: (7) Joao Sousa vs. (2) Milos Raonic

Except maybe during the clay-court swing, never is Sousa better than on indoor hard courts during the fall swing. The 53rd-ranked Portuguese captured his lone ATP title two seasons ago in Kuala Lumpur and he is back in the final of an indoor 250-pointer for a third straight year (finished runner-up in Metz in 2014). So far this week Sousa has defeated Radu Albot, Marcel Granollers, Simone Bolelli, and Dominic Thiem.

Despite his excellence in these conditions, the No. 7 seed would much rather face Raonic on the slowest surface possible. Raonic has woken up from a prolonged slump by riding his huge serve to a trio of wins on this slick court. The second-seeded Canadian booked his spot in the title match thanks to straight-set victories over Evgeny Donskoy, Tommy Robredo, and Roberto Bautista Agut. This is Raonic’s fourth consecutive baseline-loving opponent, and another one against whom he will be able to dictate play with little trouble.

Pick: Raonic in 2

8 Comments on Finals previews and picks: Simon vs. Tsonga, Raonic vs. Sousa

  1. He was fighting up to the last ball like he did in the SF – but without the same result!

    I just can’t relate to Raonic. Something to do with his wooden expression and lack of animation. And that hairdo is a right put off.

  2. Tsonga was handed a breadstick in the 2nd set. He’s now pulled himself together and got the first break in the third thanks to a double net cord. Damn! He’s going to win this 🙁

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