TENNIS

ATP Atlanta Day 1 predictions including Nakashima vs Thompson

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Preparation for the US Open begins for ATP Tour players as the outdoor ATP 250 begins in Atlanta. It will be hot in Atlanta and the tennis should be top class for this year’s version of the event.

Who will win and who will miss? I give my best guesses!

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ATP Atlanta Day 1 Predictions

Marcos Giron vs. Soonwoo Kwon

Face to face: never played

Marcos Giron hasn’t played since Wimbledon, but Giron went one step further than Kwon, falling in the second round to Alex Molcan. Soonwoo Kwon will be looking to snap his five-game losing streak in Atlanta. Kwon also last played at Wimbledon, where he lost in four sets in the first round to Novak Djokovic.

These two have never played before. Kwon is a good ball striker who can control the baseline well. He also hits his points on serve. However, Kwon can start spraying unforced errors and start pressing when forced to play extra balls or forced to run. Giron doesn’t have a huge weapon, but gets consistent depth on his groundstrokes. Giron is also in great shape and should handle the conditions well in Atlanta. Giron’s higher rally tolerance will be crucial for him, knocking out Kwon and advancing to round two.
Prediction: Giron in 3

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Taro Daniel vs. Sebastian Korda

Face to face: never played

Taro Daniel qualified for Atlanta without dropping a set, beating Ricardas Berankis and Adrian Mannarino in the process. Daniel won a total of 55/71 first-serve points and was only broken once in qualifying. Sebastian Korda hasn’t played since Eastbourne due to injury and it’s unclear how he will fare in this game against Daniel.

These two have never played before. Daniel has a strong backhand and great rally tolerance. However, Korda at her best, has the best serve and the best groundstrokes. Even from the backhand wing, Korda’s backhand has more impact than Daniel’s and he can play with controlled aggression on both the forehand and backhand side at a higher level than Daniel’s. While it’s risky to pick Korda here due to the injury factor, he should get plenty of free runs on Atlanta’s fast courts with his serve and be able to get through Daniel from the baseline.
Prediction: Korda in 2

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John Millman versus Alexei Popyrin

Head-to-head: 4-0 Millman

John Millman has not competed since losing in the first round of Wimbledon in four sets to Miomir Kecmanovic. One of the fittest players on the tour, Millman should have no problem in the hot Atlanta conditions. Alexei Popyrin will be looking to snap his five-game losing streak in Atlanta. More recently, Popyrin lost in straight sets at Newport.

Millman leads the head-to-head 4-0, but they’ve only played once since 2018 and the last three clashes have all gone three sets. Millman is consistent from the baseline and gets good depth on his groundstrokes. He also has a heavy forehand that he can use to dictate when given the chance. Popyrin has a big serve and tries to play offense when given the chance. He should take advantage of the faster conditions in Atlanta, but there are times when his rally tolerance suffers as he tries to play offense when the opportunity doesn’t present itself.

I think Millman can make Popyrin make a lot of unforced errors in this one, Millman’s jamming and counter punching ability will be the difference in this one as he should edge this match against an out of form Popyrin.
Prediction: Millman in 3

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Brandon Nakashima vs. Jordan Thompson

Head-to-head: 2-1 Nakashima

Brandon Nakashima hasn’t played since losing in five sets to Nick Kyrgios in the round of 16 at Wimbledon. However, Nakashima likes the conditions in Atlanta, having made the final last season before finally falling to John Isner. Jordan Thompson last played on the grass in Newport, where he suffered a routine loss to Jason Kubler. Thompson is a competent hard-court player and the fast-paced conditions in Atlanta will give him a little boost of power on his serve and groundstrokes.

Nakashima leads the head to head 2-1 (all on hard courts), although Thompson won in straight sets earlier this season in Dallas. Nakashima has the best serve and most powerful groundstrokes, with his backhand being the best hit on the court in this game. However, Thompson’s foot speed, improvisation skills and rally tolerance will make it difficult for Nakashima to hit Thompson effectively.

Ultimately, given how comfortable Nakashima was in Atlanta last season, I think he’s up for that challenge. He should be able to control the baseline, dictating with his backhand, and his forehand has also improved over time, so Thompson won’t be able to choose on this wing. Nakashima will take the win here, but it won’t be easy.
Prediction: Nakashima in 3

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