FRIDAY is semi-finals day at the ASB Classic in Auckland and in the Sydney International, with four matches for us to look at on day six of week two on the 2018 ATP World Tour.
We enjoyed a comfortable odds-against success with David Ferrer in Auckland on Thursday, as the veteran eased past Hyeon Chung in straight set. Indeed, it was one of those days where all three underdogs on my shortlist won – and all in straight sets, so it was a good day for those that took all three.
But it was frustration on the outright, as Adrian Mannarino blew a set and 4-2 lead against Fabio Fognini to lose in three to the Italian in Sydney.
With the Australian Open just around the corner it’s semi final Friday on day six, as this week’s events finish a day earlier than the norm, and again the weather may have a big part to play in Sydney.
Daniil Medvedev vs Fabio Fognini
I have to side with the Italian in this 04:00 UK time start at the Sydney International, with heat and high winds unlikely to aid the cause of Medvedev, who’s played a lot of tennis this week.
The Russian has come through qualies to reach this stage and was noticeably struggling in the heat then, so 30C heat with 35kph winds will make it tough for him to play his game with a lot of tennis in his legs already.
Aside from that he faces an opponent that created no fewer than 20 break point opportunities on his serve in similar conditions on outdoor hard in Cincy last season when Fognini won in straight sets.
Granted, that match was played when Medvedev was slumping, but he did serve for the opening set in that one, and it’s hard to ignore the amount of break chances that Fognini created.
The Italian certainly looked to be in fine form towards the end of the Mannarino match and I’d expect Fognini to be the one to handle the heat the better, plus his hold/break stats are better than Medvedev’s.
Medvedev is improving his numbers after a poor spell in the latter half of 2017, but he’s still only on a hold/break total of 94.4 (75.9% holds/18.5% breaks) compared to the 99.6 of Fognini (75.4% holds/24.2% breaks).
The concern for me here is that Fognini has strapping on his knee, but it doesn’t seem to be affecting him so far, and within sight of what would be a maiden outdoor hard court final he should be up for it.
- 1 point win Fognini to beat Medvedev
- (21-25, Unibet)