Fixture: Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Pablo Cuevas
Date: 24 September 2020
Tournament: Hamburg European Open 2020
Round: Second round (Round of 16)
Venue: Hamburg, Germany
Category: ATP 500
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €1,062,520
Match timing: Approx. 2.30 pm CEST, 6 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | India - Sony Six
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Pablo Cuevas preview
Second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas will be looking to get his claycourt campaign up to speed as Roland Garros approaches, when he takes on veteran Pablo Cuevas for a place in the quarterfinals of the 2020 Hamburg Open.
Tsitsipas had a disastrous end to his North American hardcourt swing despite starting it on a promising note. The Greek was dumped out of the US Open after he failed to convert six match points in his third round match against Croatia's Borna Coric.
Tsitsipas then put up a subpar performance against 18-year-old Jannik Sinner at the Italian Open last week, exiting the tournament at the first hurdle itself.
In desperate need of some claycourt momentum before the French Open, Tsitsipas finally got his game together during his Hamburg first round match on Wednesday.
The World No. 6 suffocated his Brit opponent Dan Evans with his depth and precision, and converted four of the five break points he earned. Tsitsipas also timed the ball well from his backhand, an issue that had affected the Greek during his 2020 clay debut in Rome.
Tsitsipas' next opponent Pablo Cuevas, however, will likely offer more competition to the young Greek than Evans did. While Evans has never enjoyed playing on clay, Cuevas happens to be a stalwart on the surface.
The Uruguayan has had a slump in form the last couple of years, but his prowess on the surface cannot be doubted. The World No. 64's claycourt exploits include six ATP titles on the dirt and a semifinal appearance at the 2017 Madrid Masters.
In his first round match against World No. 29 Taylor Fritz, Cuevas won 50% of the points on second return of serve and wrapped up the match in straight sets.
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Pablo Cuevas head-to-head
Stefanos Tsitsipas leads Pablo Cuevas 2-0 in the head-to-head rivalry. The pair's most recent meeting came in the final of the 2019 Estoril Open, where Tsitsipas beat Cuevas in straight sets to claim his maiden tour title on clay.
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Pablo Cuevas prediction
Stefanos Tsitsipas possesses an all-court game and amazing shot selection, and has had good enough results to suggest that he can hold his own on clay. And while the Greek suffers from the occasional niggles on his backhand, he has shown some improvement on that wing in Hamburg.
Pablo Cuevas, on the other hand, has a game tailor-made for the slow, bouncy clay. The Uruguayan imparts heavy topspin on his forehand and also has an effective kick serve.
In addition to the regulation strokes, Cuevas also likes playing trick shots every now and then. Wielding a single-handed backhand just like his young opponent, Cuevas will be involved in a lot of backhand-to-backhand rallies where he will be looking to extract errors from Tsitsipas.
The key for Tsitsipas in the match will be his forehand. The Greek has used it to control the rallies from the baseline in the past, and if he can do that again he will be in a good position.
Prediction: Stefanos Tsitsipas to win in straight sets.Published 23 Sep 2020, 20:54 IST