"The Golden Swing" continues in Argentina this week, as the South American February tour moves to Buenos Aires - where we have a great slot of games for Monday.
Pablo Cuevas, Federico Delbonis and Pablo Andujar are all going to be in action tonight, and all of them have good chances of advancing to the second round of the tournament. This event has always been a good place for underdogs, and we could see some upsets this year as well - maybe even from the very first round.
Here's a look at the big matches lined up on Day 1:
1. Jaume Munar vs Thiago Monteiro
Two experienced players on clay, Jaume Munar and Thiago Monteiro, will fight it out for a spot in the second round. And based on their current form, Monteiro might have the upper hand.
This is going to be the first meeting between those two, and I believe that Munar will have a hard time breaking through Monteiro's defenses in this match.
The Brazilian suffered a first round loss last week in Cordoba, and he should be motivated and fit for this tournament. While Munar can grind out wins on clay, Monteiro is also comfortable on the surface, and has considerably greater experience.
Prediction: Thiago Monteiro to win.
2. Casper Ruud vs Pablo Andujar
Pablo Andujar is a very experienced claycourter, who defeated Casper Ruud in decisive fashion in their only meeting on the surface. While he isn't coming off a strong run of results, Andujar is the type of player that can improve his level of play at any time.
Ruud on his part has also been struggling for quite some time. While clay is by far his best surface, he hasn't been in good rhythm lately. We are probably going to see a lot of long rallies in this one, and I do not see the Norwegian player outlasting Andujar in them.
Prediction: Pablo Andujar to win.
3. Lorenzo Sonego vs Pablo Cuevas
This might be the most exciting match from Day 1. Lorenzo Sonego is going through a horrible losing streak at the moment, but clay is his best surface, and he can improve his level of play any time.
Pablo Cuevas meanwhile won two matches last week but they were not really decisive wins, so he wouldn't be too confident about his chances here.
Sonego had a very good season on clay in 2019, where he reached the semifinals of the event in Kitzbuhel before losing to Dominic Thiem. It should be noted that his clash with Thiem was quite balanced, and Sonego was not far away from stealing a set in that one.
The Italian would fancy his chances against an aged Pablo Cuevas. From his 10-match losing streak only one loss has come on clay, so I believe he could be more than a handful for the Uruguayan.
Prediction: Lorenzo Sonego to win.
4. Federico Delbonis vs Hugo Dellien
Hugo Dellien put in a disappointing performance last week in the Cordoba first round. Based on that it is hard to see him defeating Federico Delbonis, who I believe has a good chance at a deep run this week in Buenos Aires.
The Argentinean player is more experienced than Dellien on this surface, and I would say that he is in better form too.
Dellien did not have a lot of success on the ATP tour in the later stages of the 2019 season, and he doesn't seem to have improved much in 2020 either. His few matches in this new season have been rather underwhelming.
The home crowd is going to be on Delbonis's side too, and I expect the veteran player to get to the second round without much trouble.
Prediction: Federico Delbonis to win.Published 10 Feb 2020, 21:42 IST