2016 ATP Metz Preview and Predictions
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
ATP World Tour tennis returns to France with the indoor 250 Moselle Open in Metz. Here is a preview with predictions.
ATP World Tour 250
September 19-25, 2016
Surface: Indoor hard
Prize Money: €463,520
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Dominic Thiem (10)
2: David Goffin (14)
3: Lucas Pouille (18)
4: Gilles Simon (28)
Despite not having any huge names, Metz has a solid European centric field.
First round matchups to watch:
(5)Martin Klizan vs. (WC)Julien Benneteau
Two struggling players, Klizan is higher ranked, but has been feast or famine this year with multiple ATP 500 titles, but little else in terms of wins this year. Benneteau is a rusty veteran who appears to be a shell of his fomer self. Playing in France should boost Benneteau enough to get a win.
Paul-Henri Mathieu vs. Dustin Brown
PHM tends to play well indoors, and the French veteran always enjoys home cooking. Brown is a talented shotmaker who will also enjoy playing indoors and has shown signs of bursting out at different points this season, but still hasn’t done so. Coming off a challenger final on clay, Brown is likely to be worn out and that makes the PHM the favorite, but this should be a fun match to watch.
Illya Marchenko vs. Andreas Seppi
Marchenko lost to Seppi in the Olympics, but the Ukrainian is his nation’s #1, and has had a career year, including a week 2 showing at the US Open. Seppi has been disappointing this season, but with Marchenko dealing with jetlag, the Italian will have a good chance for a quality win.
Dominic Thiem is 18-8 on hard courts this year, and his quality play has earned him a top 10 ranking. Still the Austrian is clearly out of shape, and exhausted at this point in the season thanks to his grueling schedule. Thiem means well, but he’s scheduled poorly and he could get knocked off by resurgent veteran Nicolas Almagro in his first match. Almagro opens with a qualifier, and the winner of Thiem/Almagro will face Gilles Muller in the quarters, presuming Muller beats dirtballer Horacio Zeballos and a qualifier. Muller is a big server who enjoys playing indoors, and I have him upsetting Thiem in the quarters. Muller is 15-13 on hard courts this year.
Gilles Simon has had a poor season, but the veteran will be happy to be playing in France and either Guillermo Garcia-Lopez or Damir Dzumhur are beatable round 2 opponents. Benoit Paire should face Simon in the quarters, the erratic Frenchman opens with a qualifier, with recent challenger champ Malek Jaziri or Ivan Dodig to follow. Jaziri is in good form, while Dodig is not. Paire isn’t in great form himself, but playing on home soil he should beat Jaziri, and I also have him getting past Simon for a spot in the semis.
David Goffin found success in Davis Cup over the weekend and is 19-10 on hard courts this year. Goffin will open his efforts in Metz against either J.L. Struff, who is on a long winning streak after Davis Cup triumph for Germany and a challenger title, or veteran Tommy Robredo, who is returning from injury. Struff could shock Goffin, but the Belgian is good on this surface and he should reach the quarters.
Veteran serve and volleyer Nicolas Mahut faces younger countryman Quentin Halys in his first match. Mahut has a good season that earned him a seeding, and playing indoors on home soil he should beat Halys, and the Seppi/Marchenko winner before facing Goffin. I have Goffin winning that quarterfinal match.
Lucas Pouille comes off Davis Cup duty for France, the young Frenchman is in good form and faces Pierre-Hugues Herbert or Inigo Cervantes in round 2. Herbert is a doubles specialist, and Pouille should reach the quarters, then defeat PHM or Benneteau for a spot in the semis.
Dark Horse: Jan-Lennard Struff
Struff is a good indoor hard court player and he’s been in tremendous form in recent weeks. The German is an undernoticed player who has all the tools, but has struggled mentally in his career. Struff could shock Goffin and keep winning from there.
Muller d. Paire
Pouille d. Goffin
Paire has a 2-1 record against Muller, but I still have Muller winning as I don’t trust Paire’s consistency.
Pouille is 2-0 against Goffin, despite Davis Cup fatigue, I have the Frenchman coming up big to reach an ATP final.
Pouille d. Muller
This would be an entertaining final, Pouille is a rising young gun who would love to win a home title, while Muller is running out of chances to get trophies, advantage Pouille if you ask me.