With less than a month until the start of the 2019 French Open, there will a number of first-time winners on both the ATP and WTA tour as the European clay-court swing enters its business end. Three intriguing finals in Budapest, Stuttgart and Barcelona will be played on Sunday, April 28 and here’s our tennis tip of the day for each one of them.
Krajinovic Gunning For First ATP Title In Budapest
The story of Filip Krajinovic is a story of desire. The Serbian’s career has been blighted by series of injuries which have seemed to unravel his rise in the rankings.
Krajinovic currently sits just outside the Top 100 and famously made his first tour level final at the Paris Masters in 2017 as a qualifier. That run in Bercy a couple of years ago took him inside the Top 40 for the first time in his career and stayed there for the next year until his next return to Paris where he lost in his opening round match and subsequently lost all his ranking points.
This year he seems to have found his feet and his body is holding up. Krajinovic is certainly a better ball striker than what his current ranking suggests.
He has been excellent this week in Budapest where he registered some respectable results including straight sets wins against Delray Beach champion Radu Albot and the second seed at the Hungarian Open Borna Coric respectively.
Krajinovic will be seeking his first ATP title incidentally as a qualifier yet again. His task will not be easy as he takes on the powerful Italian Matteo Berrettini who has had a dismal first quarter of the year bar his semifinal run in Sofia.
The World No.55 was on a five-match losing streak when he arrived in Hungary all of which were first round defeats. Those stats will make for pretty good reading for Krajinovic who is looking to become the ninth first-time ATP tour titlist this year. It will be a first meeting between these two players and the 27-year-old Serb will be smart value for the win.
Budapest Open Prediction
Krajinovic to win in three sets: 33/10 (888Sport)
Can Kvitova End A Surprising WTA Streak In Stuttgart?
Petra Kvitova and Anett Kontaveit are the two women left standing in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in a week of high octane tennis in Stuttgart. Kvitova is looking for her second title of the year following victory at the Sydney International in January which will ultimalty put an end to a surprising WTA streak.
There have been 18 tournaments played so far this season on the WTA tour and 18 different players have each lifted a trophy, making it the longest streak of consecutive new champions in WTA history.
Anett Kontaveit was two points from defeat in her quarterfinal match against Victoria Azarenka before turning the tables on the Belorussian.
Azarenka suffered a shoulder problem midway through the third set and Estonian survived. Kontaveit benefitted from a walkover following World No.1 Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal due to an abdominal injury in their scheduled semifinal.
With Kvitova negotiating her place in the final courtesy of a brusing battle against Kiki Bertens, there are bound to be signs of fatigue.
Kvitova can be lethal when she wants to, but judging by her recent record in the finals she can be beaten. Kontaveit is ulta-aggressive from the back of the court in a way similar to the Czech. The Estonian is enjoying the conditions in Stuttgart and certainly has the weapons in her locker to upset the two-time Grand Slam winner.
Stuttgart Open Prediction
Kontaveit to win: 8/5 (888Sport)
Medvedev and Thiem Could Be An Epic Final
In terms of spectacle, the semifinal match in Barcelona between Kei Nishikori and Daniil Medvedev will take some beating. For over two hours both players sustained a high level of tennis and the question is whether the final will even come close to matching that encounter.
Dominic Thiem joined Novak Djokovic as the only two men to have beaten Rafael Nadal at least four times on clay following his straight sets win over the struggling Spaniard in the second semifinal. The Austrian pinned Nadal way behind the baseline and produced a barrage of winners which Spaniard could not reach.
Medvedev has been a revelation on the dirt this year after his poor record on the surface prior to Monte Carlo. However, this will be a very demanding and physical match against Thiem, who is a better all-round player on clay.
Medvedev resorts to play the relentless tennis of playing as many balls back – a tactic that worked to perfection against Nishikori. But Thiem will be muscling winners rather than engage in longer rallies which will ultimately wear down the Russian.
Barcelona Open Prediction
Thiem to win 2-0: 5/6 (888Sport)