Paris R2 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Chung, Dimitrov vs. Gasquet

Rafael Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov will be heading to London in two weeks, but they first have business at hand at the Paris Masters. Nadal is kicking off his campaign against Hyeon Chung on Wednesday, while Grigor Dimitrov is facing Richard Gasquet.

(1) Rafael Nadal vs. Hyeon Chung

Nadal is one win away from clinching the year-end No. 1 ranking as he heads into his opening match at the Rolex Paris Masters on Wednesday. With world No. 2 Roger Federer having withdrawn from Paris, Nadal can move more than 1,500 points–the maximum number available at the upcoming World Tour Finals–clear of the Swiss with a victory over Chung. It would be a well-deserved honor for the Spaniard, who has captured a pair of Grand Slam titles to go along with a runner-up performance at the Australian Open and additional winners’ trophies in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, and Beijing.

This is the second career meeting between Nadal and Chung–and also the second of the year. They previously faced each other on the clay courts of Barcelona, where Nadal prevailed 7-6(1), 6-2. Chung has a proverbial postseason tournament of his own on the horizon, as he qualified for the inaugural NextGen ATP Finals in Milan for players 21-and-under. The 55th-ranked Korean has earned more than half of his lifetime ATP-level match victories in 2017 (24 of 46) and he booked his spot in the Paris second round by crushing Mischa Zverev 6-0, 6-2 on Monday. Chung may be in solid form, but he has never beaten anyone ranked better than ninth in the world and Nadal is 16-0 in his last 16 matches against opponents other than Federer.

Pick: Nadal in 2 losing 5-7 games

Richard Gasquet vs. (6) Grigor Dimitrov

Dimitrov and Gasquet will be squaring off for the eighth time in their careers on Wednesday. Gasquet is leading the head-to-head series 5-2, but Dimitrov’s rise to prominence has coincided with a shift in the balance of power regarding this matchup. Once 0-5 against the Frenchman, Dimitrov got the job done 6-4, 6-4 last fall in Shanghai and 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 at this year’s Australian Open.

The eighth-ranked Bulgarian’s semifinal performance Down Under was part of a blistering 17-1 start of the season, and he never looked back en route to what will soon be his first-ever World Tour Finals appearance. Dimitrov certainly could not keep up his January pace, but he owns a 43-18 overall record with three titles. Gasquet is 29-17 this year following a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 win over compatriot Benoit Paire on Monday. The world No. 30 is is coming off three straight quarterfinal finishes in Tokyo, Shanghai, and Vienna, but the only higher-ranked player he has defeated during this stretch is Sam Querrey.

Pick: Dimitrov in 2

52 Comments on Paris R2 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Chung, Dimitrov vs. Gasquet

  1. It all comes on how much will Rafa let Chung play. For example he was very generous with Shapovalov at Montreal. Yeah, Shapovalov is not Chung, and home crowd support can push up a player. Still, Chung has nothing to lose. I think he will either be destroyed or win more than 8 games.

    • That was a crucial hold for Rafa. Coming back from 0-40 down to avoid getting broken again was important. Now maybe Rafa will settle down and take control.

  2. The court looks very slow, it’s not low bouncing either. It’s like playing on clay, and there are so many long rallies! It’s not good that Rafa has to grind to win, when his recent more aggressive HC game serves him better on the HCs with shorter points. I really don’t like this court, hope Rafa wins the title here and then skip this tournament in future.

  3. Easy peasy.
    Rafa has enough titles in Paris. he does not need another one.

    I hope he wins today and then retires from the tournament!

  4. See, lost serve again! He just doesn’t look comfortable playing on this court, not hitting well and not serving well. It’ll be a long day at the office if Rafa is to win this match.

    • No, Rafa is definitely not comfortable on this court. That was one lousy game from him.

      I can see that this is just not a court on which he feels comfortable. I just want him to win this match and get that year end #1 ranking,

      There is a reason why he’s never doing better well here.

  5. I don’t want to see Rafa struggle to win this match. He’s really making this first set difficult.

    • I was really hoping he would withdraw from Bercy. It has always been his least successful tournament. I know a win today secures the Y/E No.1 spot but struggling against Chung is not exactly a confidence booster going into the WTF – for him or his fans 🙁

  6. Why Rafa always taking his foot off the pedal when he has things under his control? Why always makes life difficult for himself??

  7. Why when he can serve an ace DTT but only do that so sparingly? Why always throws his opponents lifelines? He got broken a second time by Chung and that had encouraged Chung to raise his level and played his best tennis! I don’t like Rafa doing this so often in his matches.

  8. Okay! Rafa breaks and wins the first set! Now I hope he can take control and get this done in two sets.

  9. Guys, it’s his first match in what, two weeks? It’s going to take him at least one match to get into a rhythm, and this is a tricky first opponent. He will get it done.

  10. Yes! Congrats Rafa and my dear Rafans for the yearend No1!

    Way to go, Champ! So proud of you!!!

    As far as I am concerned Rafa may as well go home and rest for London! He already OWNS Paris!

    Vamos Rafa!

  11. Honestly,i never thought that he could cling to his No 1 when the indoor HC started a few months ago…I thought Roger would have that advantage at this time..But clearly God’s plan much more greater than human plans…Thank u God for this amazing gift!!

    • How many matches did Roger lose in the indoor hard season again? This wasn’t due to to Nadal’s play in the indoor hard season.

      • It was winning the USO that made the difference. But Rafa helped himself by winning Beijing and getting to the final of Shanghai.

    • Well he did have the advantage. But Rafa’s insane clay court season and US Open victory were too good. Congrats to Rafa!! 👏🏼👏🏼🎉🎉

  12. Vamos Rafa!!

    I think Chung’s a good player. I expected this to be a tough 1st match for Rafa. Glad he’s through in 2 sets.

  13. I just realized that now that Rafa has secured YE#1, maybe he will totally be able to relax? I didn’t see him losing this tournament at the start, and now I REALLY don’t see him losing it now that he has nothing to worry about since he got that single win he needed for YE#1. If Delpo was fresh, I would favor him over Rafa at this tourny. But DelPo needs to be in full flight to beat Rafa, so as far as I’m concerned, the chance of Rafa getting supper here is extremely low. The only match I would predict for him to lose for the rest of the season would be against Fed at WTF, if they end up meeting. And even then, it’s never a guarantee that either one of them will win whenever they face each other. One will typically be favored depending on surface and/or form, but it’s never a foregone conclusion at all… I’d say that 99% of us thought that Rafa was favored in the Shanghai final, but we were wrong there. I just really hope we get both of them healthy, facing each other in the WTF, preferably the final but semis would be fine.

  14. I wouldn’t say Rafa was struggling against Chung; yes he made too many uncharacteristic mistakes but it’s his first match and the ball sounds a little bit odd to me; it seems to have very little bounce. I don’t think Chung expected to win so he was, at times, taking chances he wouldn’t normally take.

  15. Rafa endeared himself to the crowd during the on-court interview by thanking them, in excellent French, for their support.

  16. Ladies and gentlemen, 2017 Year end world No 1..RAFAEL NADAL

    Congrats Rafa, Congrats Rafans. Well deserved.

    I was very nervous about this one and I knew he would be very tight given the occasion and guess he was and played all up and down. I expect him to loosen up now on but dont think he will go all out for Paris and beat himself up. I think he has his eyes on WTF though I know Fed is clear favorite there ..

    • Sanju, what do you think about the idea that he will be able to play with much more freedom and weight off his shoulders? I feel like he could really just play aggressively and go for his shots quickly without having to worry about missing too much. I know he would love to win the WTF, but he typically plays his best when he comes into a tournament with a lot of recent wins. Therefore I would think that winning Paris would be very important to him, especially since he’s never won it.

      • I hope he goes full throttle to win both but i think winning both will be asking a lot. I will be satisfied with 1 win, being realistic

  17. The court looked so slow when Rafa played against Chung. Perhaps both put a lot of spin on their shots, making the ball looked slow and high bouncing through the air. I watch other matches played at CC and the other courts, the courts didn’t look slow. Maybe those players hit flatter shots and so the ball travelled quicker through the air.

    If Rafa wants to play more aggressive tennis, I guess he has to move forward more often and cuts down on the long rallies. He’s so good when he’s at the net, should venture there more often.

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