Feb 16, 2023

Match Reports 2/13 - 2/19

This page will be updated throughout the week with new match reports

Table of Contents

ATP Rotterdam 500

indoor hard courts

  • 2R: Griekspoor def Zverev
  • 1R: Medvedev def Davidovich Fokina

ATP Buenos Aires 250

very hot early in the week, cools down from Thursday onward, low humidity

  • 2R: Lorenzo Musetti def Pedro Cachin
  • 2R: Cam Norrie def Facundo Diaz Acosta

ATP Delray Beach 250

outdoor hard, windy conditions with sustained winds 10-15 mph all week

  • 2R: Kecmanovic def Borges

ATP Rotterdam

2R: Tallon Griekspoor def Alexander Zverev 4-6 6-3 6-4

Griekspoor is now 4-0 against top 20 players at Rotterdam. Griekspoor was the better player for the early part of the first set, but Zverev held on, and kicked it into gear towards the end of the set. Griekspoor came out inspired for the second set, playing aggressively through his forehand and serving effectively. Zverev took a MTO for neck tightness down 1-4 in the second set. This seemingly came out of nowhere, but it did seem to hinder Zverev a bit, as he lost several mph on his serves and looked stiff on his backhands. He was able to play through it, and likely could have won had Griekspoor’s level dipped. However, it did not. They were neck and neck in the third set until Zverev got the serving yips and broke himself with 2 untimely double faults (one BP down). After getting up a break, Griekspoor served exceptionally well, not letting Zverev get even a sniff of a look at a break.

Griekspoor deserved this win, but this still isn’t peak Zverev. We saw glimpses of peak Zverev in the first set, but perhaps his match fitness is not where it needs to be yet.

1R: Daniil Medvedev def Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 4-6 6-2 6-2

Fokina played inspired tennis in the first set, surprisingly taking the set despite being broken twice. However, the momentum seemed to turn in the final game of the set, where Medvedev saved 6 set points before Fokina finally took the set. Most of these were not quick set points either, they were grueling points where Fokina couldn’t find a way to finish points off against a surging Medvedev. Fokina exerted a lot of mental and physical energy to win that first set, while Medvedev only continued to get better. In the second set, Medvedev changed up his serving patterns and cleaned up his errors, and Medvedev got a read on Fokina’s serving patterns and started punishing him for his predictability. From the second set, Fokina just seemed a level below Medvedev. Fokina started losing more of the extended rallies, and started to get impatient and pulled the trigger more often in the wrong spots, spraying unforced errors. He had a nightmare of a time holding serve, resorting more and more on serve and volley, but not able to consistently string together service points.

Fokina returned extremely well against Medvedev throughout this match, but particularly in the first set. Fokina’s 32% 1st serve return points won and 58% 2nd serve return points won is almost unheard of against Medvedev on indoor hard courts. Fokina’s racquet skills are undeniable, and his ability to consistently attack Medvedev’s second serves put a lot of pressure on his service games. Fokina got 11 BP chances on the Medvedev serve in this match and converted 5 of them. But although his returning was incredible, but his serve just isn’t there yet. Even in the set he won, he was broken twice.

Keep in mind indoor hard is Fokina’s worst surface, and one of Medvedev’s best surfaces, so this is a good result for Fokina. He does better on clay where he can cover up his weak serve, and grass where his aggressive returning and all court shotmaking makes him dangerous against any opponent. For Medvedev, it was good to see him problem solving on the court, for example, mixing in more kick serves on second serve instead of his slice-serve-heavy approach in the first set. He understood what he needed to do to win after dropping the first set, and he went and did it. I wouldn’t read too much into Medvedev getting broken so much, that is really credit to Fokina’s exceptional returning ability.

ATP Buenos Aires

2R: Lorenzo Musetti def Pedro Cachin 6-2 6-3

Disappointing scoreline for Cachin, but he actually didn’t play badly. Musetti played a flawless match in his first match on clay since last July. Musetti’s level was really incredible when you consider the tricky conditions, temperatures below 60 degrees F and winds around 15 mph. Musetti came out sharp and aggressive, and showed no signs of rust unlike other seeded players Alcaraz and Norrie, who both struggled at times with their level in their first match in Buenos Aires.

Tactically, Cachin didn’t come in with a winning formula to deal with an in form Musetti. In general, he was too conservative in his approach and was punished repeatedly for not taking advantage of favorable spots in rallies. His serve was a huge liability, which was compounded by the wind and cool conditions, which made his serve even less effective. Musetti also had some trouble holding serve, partly due to difficult serving conditions, and partly credit to Cachin. On return games, Cachin generally returned quite well, and would repeatedly just hit deep down the middle, or settle into backhand to backhand exchanges with Musetti. It was actually quite effective, and Musetti couldn’t hurt Cachin on backhand to backhand exchanges. If anything, these exchanges favored Cachin, who has a very reliable and quite dangerous two handed backhand. The problem was Cachin wasn’t able to effectively capitalize on favorable exchanges, as he never established his backhand down the line, and was reluctant to come to net on his own terms. When Cachin tried to dictate points, he did it without enough conviction, and it would often result in Musetti stealing the point or Cachin hitting an error. When Musetti would drop shot though, Cachin was extremely effective at chasing down drop shots and turning the points in his favor. Cachin was flawless at the net, which is all the more impressive considering he never came to net on his own terms, and only came in when Musetti drew him in.

The difference in this match was undoubtedly Musetti’s forehand. While backhand to backhand was generally neutral for both players, Musetti was very often hitting forehand invertido, and in this exchange, he was overpowering against Cachin. Cachin mostly just tried to hit his forehand deep down the middle, while Musetti was aggressive with conviction on his forehand. Despite the slower conditions, he was still consistently finding ways to hit through Cachin with his forehand, which by the way, has gotten a lot bigger and is now a serious weapon. Musetti also served with more conviction than Cachin, and with his serve+forehand advantage, was able to hold serve more consistently.

The rallies were quite entertaining, and the games were generally very competitive in this match, especially in the second set. Cachin played well overall, so this was a very promising and convincing win for Musetti.

2R: Cam Norrie def Facundo Diaz Acosta 4-6 7-5 7-6(6)

Cam Norrie was down a set and a break with 22 yr old Argentine rank 191 Diaz Acosta serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set before he kicked it into the next gear. Norrie’s level wasn’t inspiring, but he came back in typical Norrie fashion. He made it a titanic struggle to score points on him, knowing that he can outlast anyone in a third set in these very hot Buenos Aires conditions. In the third set, Diaz Acosta was on the verge of cramping from the middle of the third set, and played inspired tennis with raucous crowd support just to hang on. Norrie’s level was shaky at best, but his superior fitness and mental strength won him the match in the end.

ATP Delray Beach

2R: Miomir Kecmanovic def Nuno Borges 6-3 7-5

A bit of a letdown for Borges who had been playing at a good level in these windy Delray Beach conditions. Borges got up a break twice in the second set, but mentally couldn’t maintain a decent level and kept giving the breaks back. The level in this match was not great, so I’m not convinced Kecmanovic is dangerous again, but this is certainly a confidence boost for him. Regarding Borges, Kecmanovic figured out that Borges couldn’t hit high backhands today (perhaps the windy conditions affected his timing), and just kept hitting kick serves and topspin balls to his backhand, and Borges imploded. Not only was Borges constantly dumping high backhands into the net, it started to affect the rest of his game, and he lost his flow.