Rotterdam previews and predictions: Pouille vs. Rublev, Goffin vs. Lopez

Montpellier champion Lucas Pouille will be back in action three days following his most recent title when he takes the court in Rotterdam for a first-round date with Andrey Rublev on Wednesday. Second-round action is beginning with a showdown between David Goffin and Feliciano Lopez.

(7) Lucas Pouille vs. Andrey Rublev

Pouille is coming off his fifth career ATP title in Montpellier, where he got lucky in the form of a semifinal retirement from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga before taking down fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the final. It was an especially welcomed result for Pouille, who lost in the Australian Open first round to Ruben Bemelmans–who is going up against Roger Federer on Wednesday. Three of the 16th-ranked Frenchman’s titles have come indoors, and he also clinched the 2017 Davis Cup crown for France an an indoor hard court last fall.

Up first for Pouille at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament on Wednesday is Rublev, whom he has never faced. Rublev also played in Montpellier and lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 7-6(1) in the quarterfinals, which was preceded by routine wins over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Jeremy Chardy. The 20-year-old Russian is a stellar 8-3 this season with a runner-up performance in Doha and a third-round showing at the Australian Open. A well-rested and in-form Rublev should be able to take advantage of a fatigued Pouille.

Pick: Rublev in 3

Feliciano Lopez vs. (4) David Goffin

Goffin and Lopez will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers when they clash in the Rotterdam second round on Wednesday. Both of their previous encounters have gone the way of Goffin, who prevailed 7-5, 6-0 at the 2016 Monte-Carlo Masters and 7-5, 6-1 in the indoor hard courts of Tokyo last fall. The latter result was part of a blistering end-of-season run in 2017 for Goffin, who went on to capture the Tokyo title, reached the Nitto ATP Finals champion match (upset Federer, fell to Grigor Dimitrov), and then dominated two Davis Cup rubbers against France (vs. Pouille and vs. Tsonga) in Belgium’s final loss. The world No. 7 will have enjoyed plenty of recovery time following his Montpellier semifinal loss to Gasquet last week.

Lopez is the current tournament director of this spring’s Madrid Masters, but he is not riding off into the sunset of his playing career just yet. The 36-year-old Spaniard remains a decent 37th in the world and he scored a solid 6-3, 7-6(4) victory over qualifier and former Rotterdam champion Martin Klizan on Monday. However, Lopez also failed to be competitive in setbacks last month against Alex de Minaur (Sydney) and Sam Querrey (Australian Open). Goffin’s ball-striking should once again be too much for the veteran, who will likely see a flurry of passing shots whizz by him.

Pick: Goffin in 2

5 Comments on Rotterdam previews and predictions: Pouille vs. Rublev, Goffin vs. Lopez

  1. Goffin over Lopez in 2 (Fun Fact: There past two matches have had a score of 7-5 in Goffin’s favor. Maybe this time too?)
    Rublev over Pouille in 3

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