Barcelona R2 previews and predictions: Goffin vs. Basilashvili, Cuevas vs. Khachanov

Monte-Carlo semifinalist David Goffin will try to continue his fine form when he takes the court in Barcelona for second-round action against Nikoloz Basilashvili. Pablo Cuevas and Karen Khachanov are also aiming for a spot in the last 16.

(5) David Goffin vs. Nikoloz Basilashvili

Goffin made a debut appearance at the World Tour Finals in 2016–albeit as an alternate–and although it is still early, he is on pace for a return trip to London. In fact, the 10th-ranked Belgian would qualify with room to spare if it ended today as the current No. 4 player in the race to the year-end championship. Heading into the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, Goffin sports a 23-8 record that includes runner-up performances in Sofia and Rotterdam to go along with a semifinal showing last week in Monte-Carlo.

Up first for Barcelona’s fifth seed on Wednesday is a second career head-to-head meeting with Basilashvili. Their only previous encounter came last summer on the hard courts of Cincinnati, where Goffin got the job done 7-5, 6-3. Also playing some of the best tennis of his life right now, Basilashvili already owns more than half of his career ATP-level match victories this season (13 of 25). The 61st-ranked Georgian suffered a tough three-set loss to Roberto Bautista Agut right off the bat in Monte-Carlo but he destroyed Taro Daniel 6-3, 6-1 in his Barcelona opener. Basilashvili is a high-risk, high-reward player who crushes his forehand at every opportunity. It will difficult for the underdog to implement his ball-bashing tactics on clay against a counter-puncher of Goffin’s quality.

Pick: Goffin in 2

Karen Khachanov vs. (11) Pablo Cuevas

Cuevas and Khachanov will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers on Wednesday. The Golden Swing in South America has always been Cuevas’ favorite time of year, but based on current form there is no reason why he cannot do damage at bigger clay-court events such as Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, and even the French Open. The 26th-ranked Uruguayan, a champion on the red clay of Sao Paulo earlier in 2017, rose to the challenge last week in Monte-Carlo and advanced to the quarterfinals before falling to Lucas Pouille in a tight three-setter.

Khachanov is coming off a stellar clay-court win on Tuesday, when he took down Thomaz Bellucci 6-3, 6-4. The 20-year-old Russian had previously been 4-11 at the ATP level this season, including 1-1 on clay (defeated Nicolas Mahut last week in Monte-Carlo, lost to Pablo Carreno Busta). Khachanov is showing encouraging signs of being able to compete on the slow stuff, but an in-form Cuevas may give him a clay-court lesson in this one–just as Carreno Busta did in Monte-Carlo.

Pick: Cuevas in 2

31 Comments on Barcelona R2 previews and predictions: Goffin vs. Basilashvili, Cuevas vs. Khachanov

  1. I am going with Ricky’s picks as I think there are no surprises here and both Goffin and Cuevas will win easily.

  2. Cuevas trying to stay in this match in a second set tb.

    Khachanov win the first set in a tb.

    I didn’t think this match would play out the way it has.

  3. So Zeballos won. Zeballos v Khachanov.

    Zeballos and Berlocq went to the same tennis academy for worst grunting.

  4. ARV and RBA have reasonable grunts. They don’t bother me at all.

    ARV makes it. Good. ARV v Andy 🙂

    • They should start a reality show on Tennis Channel called The Grunt where a panel of celebrity judges made up of ex-greats such as Monica Seles and lesser knowns such as Larcher de Brito would listen to junior players grunt and pick them based on their future decibel potential.

      There could be grunt offs, best Shriekapova, and different categories such as best hinderence sustain and most loudest.

      The winner would be banned for life.

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