Citi Open August 2, 2012 - Key Match-ups

Round of 16: Men's Preview and Predictions

Analyst and picks made by: ATP analyst Nikhil with results input by JC

Another great line-up scheduled for Thursday, August 2nd at the Citi Open. Plenty of good matches in store, so make sure you have your tickets in hand. I'm not much of a gambling man, but who can't throw a few darts at tennis picks? Here's a stab at the men's matches to watch.

Anderson v. Serra

Serra came through qualifying this week and caused a semi-upset when he ousted Brian Baker. Kevin Anderson was impressive in his Tuesday night win over Juergen Zopp. The 6' 7" South African has played college tennis at the University of Illinois, so the 4PM heat will be no surprise to him. Expect some close and hard fought baseline rallies, as Serra will try to his guile outmaneuver his biggest opponent. Anderson will have to serve well and throw in some forays to the net but this match will come down to Serra's ability to stay on serve.

Our Picks:

Nik - Anderson in two tough sets.
JC - Anderson in straights, if Serra doesn't come up with the goods on serve.
Let's see if Serra will serenade the audience again with his French explicatives by the 2nd set.

Querrey v. Becker

Sam was presumably a little jet-lagged from his Monday West Coast flight from L. A. as he battled Igor Andreev on Tuesday, well past midnight. Querrey stayed aggressive though to come through in the triple tie-break threat. Becker, has a big serve for 5' 10" and generally maximizes his court time and ability in every match. Watch this match to see Querrey absolutely hit the cover off the ball, consistently hit 130mph serves and see how the tie-breaks pan out.

Our Picks:

Nik - I fancy Querrey will take this one in two tie-break sets.
JC - Querrey will take this relatively easy with 6-3, 6-4 win.
Still on a hot winning streak on hard courts and I expect to see him add onto his US Open bonus points. I would say the warmer temps should favor the American.

Fish v. Berankis

Fish is battling a sore ankle and a recent heart issue(arrhythmia) so his confidence has been up and down, particularly his opening outing against Phau. I suspect Fish will be more zoned in for this match but Berankis is no pushover. Fish may not be able to just stay on the baseline in this one, he'll need to throw Berankis off balance by occasionally approaching the net.

Our Pick:
Nik - The first two sets will be close, but Fish gets through in three.
JC - Close one with at least one tie-break.
Fish said in his post-match conference that he's "100%" now, this is going to test that statement physically. Berankis won't go down easy.

Chardy v. Malisse

This is likely going to be the most interesting match of the day. In tennis, matches between closely matched opponents are usually a lot more interesting than a mismatch between the no. 10 player in the world versus number 100. In terms of rankings, the one pits 47 ranked Chardy (who fancies himself as a TV actor) against the X-Man, ranked 67. The match-up is as even as it gets. Malisse, always prone to a meltdown and some drama, wasn't too happy with the Grandstand court in his previous match against Mathieu - he complained (justifiably) about the windscreens, the crowds walking past behind him, wailing babies, speakers that were too close to the court, the lights and just about everything else.

The important thing is he still managed to win the match. Chardy, while less dramatic, can fade in and out as well. Look for the Frenchman to control the court with his big first serve and his inside out forehand. Chardy is an aggressive baseliner and he will have his task cut out. Malisse has a great backhand a workable forehand and generally can play an all court game.

Our Pick:

Nik - This one's a tight three setter, Chardy may just scrape through in a dramatic third.
JC - My heart says X-Man, but my head says Chardy.
I say the winner of the 1st set will take this one in 3.

What do you think, who's your pick? Feel free to add your own comments below!