Munich SF previews and predictions: Thiem vs. Zverev, Kohlschreiber vs. Fognini

Countrymen Alexander Zverev and Philipp Kohlschreiber are one round away from an all-German final in Munich. But they first have to get past difficult semifinal opponents in Dominic Thiem and Fabio Fognini, respectively.

(8) Alexander Zverev vs. (3) Dominic Thiem

Thiem and Zverev will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers when they battle for a spot in the BMW Open title match on Sunday. Zverev has never been to an ATP final, but it is safe to say he is playing by far the best tennis of his career right now. The 19-year-old German is 16-10 this season following victories in Munich over Malek Jaziri, Lukas Rosol, and David Goffin. His 2016 campaign also features a a semifinal performance in Montpellier and a fourth-round showing in Indian Wells.

Zverev just faced another player in the best form of his life (Goffin) and the case will be no different on Saturday against Thiem. The 22-year-old Austrian is tied for the 2016 ATP lead in match wins (28) with Novak Djokovic and he boasts titles in Buenos Aires and Acapulco. Currently inside the top-eight cut line in the race to London, Thiem booked a spot in his fifth semifinal of the season by defeating Santiago Giraldo and Ivan Dodig. Although clay is not bad surface for Zverev, it is an absolutely ideal one for Thiem. The world No. 15 will also benefit from a significant edge in experience at the latter, pressure-packed stages of tournaments.

Pick: Thiem in 3

(4) Philipp Kohlschreiber vs. (5) Fabio Fognini

Fognini and Kohlschreiber will be squaring off for the fifth time in their careers on Saturday. Kohlschreiber is leading the head-to-head series 3-1, including 2-1 on clay. The 27th-ranked German prevailed 7-5, 6-2 on the red stuff in Hamburg, marking their first-ever meeting back in 2012. He also got the job done 7-6(0), 6-4 when the two veterans most recently faced each other last season in Kitzbuhel. Fognini’s lone victory came via a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 decision in a title match on the clay courts of Stuttgart three years ago.
Kohlschreiber has been his typically solid self in 2016, although such a description may be an understatement in regards to the past few months. Munich’s No. 4 seed is 14-5 in his last 19 matches following wins this week over Florian Mayer and Juan Martin Del Potro. This stretch also includes semifinal performances in Rotterdam and Barcelona. Fognini punched his ticket to the last four by beating Maximilian Marterer and Mikhail Kukushkin in straight sets before holding off lucky loser Jozef Kovalik 6-2, 3-6, 7-5. The 30th-ranked Italian is just 8-6 on the year but is coming off a decent quarterfinal finish in Barcelona. Kohlschreiber has an edge in both current form and home-court advantage, so he should be able to build on his encouraging record against Fognini.

Pick: Kohlschreiber in 3

17 Comments on Munich SF previews and predictions: Thiem vs. Zverev, Kohlschreiber vs. Fognini

    • Same. At first I was thinking Thiem in straights but then I thought about home crowd support and Zverev’s confidence after beating Goffin. Then again if Thiem has a bad day then zverev is capable of the upset. I just don’t see that happening. I think Thiem will be a bit too tough especially on this surface. I would say zverev would stand a better chance on another surface. Anyways even though I was leaning more towards Thiem in straights for some reason, I’ll give zverev a set. Thiem in 3. And I think he will take the title over Kohlschreiber in three sets in the final. Though kohl could win that as well especially with home support and H2H.

  1. I wish Sasha would win, but it will be Thiem in 3 most likely! I also think Kohl in 3

    I wish Nick wins the title in Estoril! These young guns are really doing good job!

  2. Zverev in 3…don’t understand why everyone is going for Thiem. Dropped bad sets to the likes of Dodig, Daniel and Struff. Big chance for the German

  3. Thiem is looking a touch jaded and he is struggling a bit with his serve. Zvev minor has got the first break. But Zvev hands it straight back.

    Hard to call this match but I’m plumping for Zev in this one.

  4. Right ding dong going on between Zvev and Thiem. Zvev is up a break and Thiem serving to stay in the set. Hard to believe this is the first encounter between these two.

  5. Both men playing cat and mouse with each other. Thiem’s ground strokes lacking some of the usual venom and Zvev doing his customary Houdini act to save BPs
    First set to Zvev.

  6. So Domi did win in the end. This should be a terrific rivalry in the future. Zverev the Younger is doing so well for a young player, we tend to forget how early on in his career he is.

  7. Great match, Thiem just had a bit more of a technical side to him but I was concerned that he wasn’t laying the ball out flat and that was keeping zverev in a lot of points.. Guess that’s his style.. I did a parlay Thiem halfway through the first set into kohli 150 to win 400… Tailed ur knowledge once again so thanks for all the good input !

  8. Good job Hartt… I’m still contemplating the Kyrgios vs Almagro match.. Everyone seems pretty confident kyrigios is gonna beat almagro pretty hard..

  9. Think Almagro is in the lead but would be surprised if he won. Then again, Kyrgios is not super consistent. Anyway, did not even try to pick a winner for that one.

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