Saturday, June 15, 2024

French Open Day 2 Predictions Including Rafael Nadal vs Alexander Zverev

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The first round of the 2024 French Open continues on Monday, Day 2 of the event. There are 24 men’s singles matches scheduled, and–as always–we here at LastWordOnTennis share our thoughts on all of them. We split the 24 matches between six articles. Our other five articles feature Ben Shelton vs Hugo Gaston, Gael Monfils vs Thiago Seyboth Wild, Jannik Sinner vs Christopher Eubanks, Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Marton Fucsovics, and Daniil Medvedev vs Dominik Koepfer. Predicting today’s matches are Jordan Reynolds, Damian Kust, and Yesh Ginsburg.

French Open Day 2 Predictions

Luca Van Assche vs Denis Shapovalov

Jordan:
Shapovalov has more firepower in this matchup, but clay represents Van Assche’s best opportunity of overcoming the Canadian. If he attacks the Shapovalov backhand consistently enough with heavy spin, Van Assche has a great chance.
Prediction: Van Assche in 4

Damian:
Shapovalov is getting some form back and we likely won’t see the full effects of it until after the clay season. It’s not like he can’t play on the surface though, even if the point construction side of things is still very much a mystery to him. Against someone like Van Assche, it’s clear who’s got all the required tools in his hands.
Prediction: Shapovalov in 4

Yesh:
Shapovalov looks like a good player, consistently, for the first time in what feels like years now. I don’t think he’s ready to go deep, but he’s definitely ready to win a match or two.
Prediction: Shapovalov in 4

Max Purcell vs Henri Squire

Jordan:
Squire qualified here, but quite honestly he didn’t impress me. He didn’t beat any particularly strong clay-courters, and he wasn’t particularly impressive in doing so. Purcell might not love the clay, but he’s the better player here.
Prediction: Purcell in 4

Damian:
Squire got one of the dream draws here with Purcell’s big serve/slice disrupting style being far less applicable on clay courts. The Australian rarely trusts his baseline game enough for it to be a threat in slower conditions and Squire playing slice masters like Dzumhur or Vavassori in the qualifying could be good practice. Big chance for the debutant.
Prediction: Squire in 5

Yesh:
Clay does not suit Purcell’s serve-and-volley playing style at all. On paper, Squire is a good draw for him. However, the Australian is one of the most beatable players in the draw on this surface and I think he will exit.
Prediction: Squire in 4

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Francisco Cerundolo vs Yannick Hanfmann

Jordan:
I am not sure Hanfmann’s forehand will hold up against Cerundolo, who is one of the best on clay off that wing. The German is dangerous when he finds his range on the dirt. But this seems like too tough a matchup for him.
Prediction: Cerundolo in 3

Damian:
Hafnmann hasn’t been in great form this year, but you never really know what you’re going to get from Cerundolo either. The Argentinian was fantastic at Roland Garros last year though and with his inconsistency, the best-of-five format can often be a savior. Dropping one set here isn’t the end of the world yet, you have time to recover.
Prediction: Cerundolo in 4

Yesh:
Cerundolo has so much potential, even though he too often doesn’t live up to it. Still, at this event, on this surface, I think he’ll bring close to his top form.
Prediction: Cerundolo in 4

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Rafael Nadal vs Alexander Zverev

Jordan:
This is a blockbuster matchup on paper and Nadal’s level in practice has been improving. Yet, playing someone like Zverev is one of the worst possible matchups for him, whose game counters Nadal’s well on clay. It may seem unthinkable but it is very possible that the 14-time Grand Slam champion will exit at the first hurdle at his current level.
Prediction: Zverev in 4

Damian:
The big one. My initial draw reaction was absolutely no shot for Nadal, but the info we’ve been getting from his pressers and practice the last few days has been promising. Still, it doesn’t feel like it would be realistic to expect the upset here. Zverev with his strong two-hander is far less vulnerable to lefty topspin than most players and the Spaniard’s groundstrokes will need to be firing here.
Prediction: Zverev in 4

Yesh:
Is Zverev the better player right now? Yes. Do we have any idea what Nadal’s form will look like? No. Is there any good reason to expect this match to be close? Probably not. On the other hand, Nadal isn’t interested in glorified retirement tours. He’s in the French Open to win it all, and I can’t imagine he’d expect to fall at his first shot.
Prediction: Nadal in 4

Main Photo Credit: Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports

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