Metz and St. Petersburg previews and predictions

The home stretch of the 2017 season is underway with the start of the fall swing. It goes from Europe to Asia and back to Europe, beginning this week in Metz and St. Petersburg.

Only one top 10 player in the world is in action, and it’s Pablo Carreno Busta. Yes, Carreno Busta is in the top 10 after his remarkable season continued with a semifinal run at the U.S. Open. The Spaniard is part of a Metz field that also includes David Goffin, Lucas Pouille, and Richard Gasquet. Among the title contenders in St. Petersburg are Roberto Bautista Agut, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Fabio Fognini.

Moselle Open

Where: Metz, France
Surface: Indoor hard
Points: 250
Prize money
: 482,060 Euros

Top seed: Pablo Carreno Busta
Defending champion: Lucas Pouille

Draw analysis: Goffin is arguably the favorite, even though he is the No. 2 seed behind Carreno Busta. The Belgian should have plenty of crowd support in nearby France, although that certainly won’t be the case when those two countries collide in the upcoming Davis Cup final. There are, however, a few issues that could be a detriment to Goffin’s Metz campaign. He has not been 100 percent physically since a freak injury at the French Open, he is coming off a long weekend of Davis Cup action, and he could have a tough semifinal on his hands against either Gasquet or Gilles Muller.

Carreno Busta should be well-rested after enjoying a week off following his surprising run to the U.S. Open semis. The top seed will open with Dustin Brown or Nicolas Mahut, both of whom can be especially tough indoors if they serve well. Pouille’s section of the bracket is by far the most wide open. The Frenchman was a disaster this summer aside from capitalizing on a favorable draw to make a fourth-round run at the U.S. Open. The winner of a first-rounder between Gilles Simon and Andreas Seppi could take advantage, but both veterans are on the way down.

First-round upset alert: Florian Mayer over (7) Benoit Paire. This is a matchup between two players who bring plenty of unpredictability to the table. Both prefer their backhands, as it takes them longer to wind up for their forehands than it takes Rafael Nadal in between points. Mayer leads the head-to-head series 3-0, including 1-0 on in indoor courts and 1-0 this season. Two have been competitive. Home-court advantage may give Paire a better chance…. Or maybe not.

Hot: Pablo Carreno Busta, Mischa Zverev, Henri Laaksonen

Cold: Gilles Simon, Paul-Henri Mathieu, Denis Istomin, Nikoloz Basilashvili, Nicolas Almagro

Semifinal predictions: Pablo Carreno Busta over Gilles Simon and Gilles Muller over Benoit Paire

Final: Carreno Busta over Muller

St. Petersburg Open

Where: St. Petersburg, Russia
Surface: Indoor hard
: 250
Prize money
: $1,000,000

Top seed: Roberto Bautista Agut
2016 champion: Alexander Zverev (not playing)

Draw analysis: Fognini is back in action for the first time since getting defaulted out of the U.S. Open (he was already out in singles, so it only affected his status in the doubles draw). Following a first-round bye, the Italian could open against veteran Mikhail Youzhny—who lost a memorable second-rounder in New York to Roger Federer over five injury-marred sets. Fognini finds himself in a relatively tough top half of the St. Petersburg bracket along with Bautista Agut and Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Tsonga just sent France into the Davis Cup final, so that may give him some much-needed momentum. He had been slumping this spring and summer, culminating in a U.S. Open second-round loss to rising star Denis Shapovalov. Tsonga is on a collision course for this week’s quarterfinals with Borna Coric, who upset Alexander Zverev on the way to a third-round appearance in Flushing Meadows. In-form competitors Adrian Mannarino and Paolo Lorenzi could also be serious factors in St. Petersburg.

First-round upset alert: Andrey Kuznetsov over (7) Viktor Troicki. Troicki leads the head-to-head series 2-1, but both of his victories required final sets and Kuznetsov won their most recent encounter 6-4, 6-4 last season in Madrid. The seventh-seeded Serb benefited a favorable draw to reach the U.S. Open third only to get utterly destroyed by Alexandr Dolgopolov. This is a good opportunity for Kuznetsov to treat the home crowd to a victory.

Hot: Roberto Bautista Agut, Adrian Mannarino, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Paolo Lorenzi, Borna Coric, Damir Dzumhur

Cold: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Ricardas Berankis, Horacio Zeballos, Daniil Medvedev

Semifinal predictions: Roberto Bautista Agut over Philipp Kohlschreiber and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga over Adrian Mannarino

Final: Bautista Agut over Tsonga

Comments and your own predictions are appreciated!

10 Comments on Metz and St. Petersburg previews and predictions

  1. Metz –
    Zverev over Brown
    Simon over Pouille
    Gasquet over Muller
    Goffin over Paire
    Simon over Zverev
    Goffin over Gasquet
    Goffin over Simon

    • Benny, you thinkin that Gasquet’s Challenger triumph will spur him on to a decent run in Metz? (I’m being serious, by the way, not sarcastic 🙂

        • Definitely. I could see your boy Gilles blasting Gasquet off the court in the QF. Although Gasquet will obviously be really determined to show that he can still contend for tour-level titles, not to mention that he will have the French crowd behind him all the way. I wonder what Gasquet and Gilles’ head to head is? I’m too lazy to check at the moment. 🙂

  2. St. Petersburg –
    Bautista Agut over Kuznetsov
    Kohlschreiber over Youzhny
    Mannarino over Dzumhur
    Tsonga over Coric
    Bautista Agut over Kohlschreiber
    Tsonga over Mannarino
    Bautista Agut over Tsonga

    • Ben, Todd, Stan, and other ATP experts what are your picks for today?

      I so far seem to like Ricky’s picks.

      What about you guys?

  3. Moselle Open
    Carreno Busta over M. Zverev
    Pouille over Simon
    Muller over Gasquet
    Goffin over Paire
    Carreno Busta over Pouille
    Goffin over Muller
    Goffin over Carreno Busta

  4. St. Petersburg
    Bautista Agut over Troicki
    Kohlscreiber over Youzhny
    Gulbis over Dzhumur
    Tsonga over Coric
    Bautista Agut over Kohlscrieber
    Gulbis over Tsonga
    Bautista Agut over Gulbis

Comments are closed.

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