Basel R1 previews and predictions: Federer vs. Tiafoe, Dolgopolov vs. Harrison

Roger Federer will begin his bid for an eighth Basel title when he kicks off his 2017 campaign against familiar foe Frances Tiafoe on Tuesday. Alexandr Dolgopolov and Ryan Harrison are also part of the first-round schedule.

(1) Roger Federer vs. (WC) Frances Tiafoe

Federer and Tiafoe will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers and for the third time this season when they meet again in round one of the Swiss Indoors Basel on Tuesday night. Although Federer has won both of their previous encounters, Tiafoe put up a commendable showing on each previous occasion. The 19-year-old American went down 7-6(2), 6-3 at the Miami Masters and 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 in the U.S. Open first round.

Now healthier than he was in New York, Federer is coming off a title at the Shanghai Masters. The second-ranked Swiss is 44-4 this season with additional titles at the Australian Open, Wimbledon, Indian Wells, Miami, and Halle. Tiafoe registers at an impressive 76th in the world even though he has struggled to make the transition from the Challenger circuit to the main tour. He is 7-16 at the ATP level in 2017 and 9-28 for his career. Tiafoe most recently turned in consecutive second-round performances in Shanghai and Antwerp, suffering respective losses at the hands of Sam Querrey and David Goffin. A first-round exit is likely in the cards this time around, and it may not be competitive with Federer likely playing inspired tennis in front of the home crowd.

Pick: Federer in 2 losing 7 games or fewer

Alexandr Dolgopolov vs. Ryan Harrison

Dolgopolov and Harrison will be squaring off for the second time in their careers on Tuesday. Their only previous encounter came four years ago on the hard courts of Cincinnati, where Harrison prevailed 7-6(3), 6-4. The 25-year-old American has been stellar this season in both singles and doubles, with a current ranking of 46th and an upcoming appearance in the World Tour Finals with fellow French Open doubles champion Michael Venus. Harrison’s fall swing includes a Tokyo upset of U.S. Open runner-up Kevin Anderson, but he promptly got blown out by Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-0 in the quarterfinals.

A resurgent Dolgopolov has been in fine form over the past few months and is now in contention for 2018 Australian Open seeding at No. 37 in the world. The Ukrainian finished runner-up in Bastad, made a run to round four of the U.S. Open, lost Goffin in the Shenzhen title match, and reached the Shanghai third round as a qualifier. Dolgopolov has always been a streaky performer who can get extremely hot when confident and can also endure dreadful cold spells at the other end of the spectrum. Right now he is a hot–and will likely have too much variety and weaponry for Harrison.

Pick: Dolgopolov in 3

10 Comments on Basel R1 previews and predictions: Federer vs. Tiafoe, Dolgopolov vs. Harrison

  1. Sharpo now has a bandage on his right knee; he’s getting more and more like young Rafa – lefty, jumpy, full of energy, and now with bandaged knee!

      • Yeah, I think Sharpo and Sasha are the real deals after the big four retire.

        Rafa, Djoko and Fed shown promises during their early career, when they’re in late teens to early 20s. They were already good enough to play > 80 matches a season during their younger days, and were up the rankings very soon. They then become ATGs as we know they are now.

        Sasha at 20 is already world no.4, has already played > 60 matches this season, that means he’s physically strong enough to last a whole season. I think he’ll be the best among his peers.

        Sharpo at 18 has reached top 50, he’s the youngest guy to reach top 50 since our dear Rafa (and that’s how long ago when Rafa did that, back in 2003, ie 14 years ago!). I think Sharpo is something special, since our dear Rafa.

        • There will never be another Rafa! But I do like young Sharpo – His positive energy/enthusiasm reminds me of young Rafa. SZ is clearly the best of the young guns so far. We’ll have to see if/when he can step it up in the slams.

  2. I am going with Ryan Harrison in 3. I will never trust the “match fixing” Dolgo ever again. Lost tons of money on him.

    As recently as in the 1st rd. of Antwerp, Dolgo was the heavy favorite to win. We all picked him to win in 2 sets and after tons of money came in on Dolgo he quietly match-fixed (probably bet a million dollars on Henri Laaksonen) and lost in 2 sets (2-6, 6-7) instead of winning in 2 sets!Wow! What a cheat!

    How can this talented fellow lose (unless he has match-fixed this match) to a lowly Henri Laaksonen, when the whole world was betting on Dolgo to win!?

    How can Dolgo lose to that lowly Henri Laaksonen who lost 6-1,6-1 to Julien Benneteau in the very next rd @Antwerp?

    Now Dolgo is -140 fav vs Ryan Harrison and he might purposefully lose again betting heavily on Harrison! OK Dolgo, in that case I will also bet on Harrison to win in 3 or over! Dolgo, you think you are smart and can fool the public. We will outsmart you (by following you!)lol

    Federer in 3. Like the over here. Fed will have the pressure to perform in front of his home crowd. Tiafoe can play carefree and he will play carefree as i) He is still an youngster and can play with abandon ii) he has confidence that he can hang with Federer based on his last 2 H2H matches with Fed!

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