2018 ATP Pune Preview and Predictions: In-Form Kevin Anderson Highlights Field
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Fresh off an exhibition victory in Abu Dhabi South Africa’s #1 Kevin Anderson is the star of the ATP Pune field. Formerly held in Chennai, India’s only ATP Tournament has 250 points up for grabs on hard courts to start the season. Here is your full preview with predictions.
Marin Cilic should be happy to be able to start the season in good shape. He should ease past either Roberto Carballes Baena or local wild card Ramkumar Ramanthan before running into Pierre-Hugues Herbert or Yuki Bhambri in the quarters. PHH will serve it up against Marco Cecchinato followed by either Bhambri or wild card Arjun Kadhe. Bhambri has been a player of promise for a wild and he posted a solid season, mostly below the ATP level, last year.Look for Cilic over Bhambri in the quarters.
Abu Dhabi finalist Roberto Bautista Agut is as steady of a contender as they come, the Spaniard will get either veteran Gilles Simon or Tennys Sandgren in round 2. Simon had a miserable 2017, while Sandgren broke out last year, starting the year off right is big for both players. RBA looks likely to face Jiri Vesely in the quarters, Spaniard Ricardo Lara is Vesely’s round 1 opponent and making his ATP main draw debut. Ilya Ivashka takes on Sumit Nagal in a battle of qualifiers in the other match in this section. Bautista Agut should put away Vesely in the quarters unless Vesely has really improved in the offseason.
The bottom half should be dominated by Anderson, who served masterfully in Abu Dhabi, he’ll face either Ruben Bemelmans or Thiago Monteiro round 2, with Mikhail Kukushkin seemingly the best choice to sneak into the quarterfinals opposite the South Afircan. Kukushkin faces Radu Albot, challenger level players Laslo Djere and Marius Copil will face off for the right to face Kukushkin/Albot round 2. Anderson should cruise into the semis.
Enigmatic shotmakers Benoit Paire and Robin Haase could be set for a quarterfinal meeting, Haase faces the grinder Blaz Kavcic in round 1, while Paire will face Nicolas Kicker or Marton Fucsovics. Hungary’s Fucsovics is the dark horse here, he showed improvement last year and could make a run, especially since Paire struggled to end 2017. Haase needs to keep building his ranking after some good performances in 2017. Haase should beat Kavcic and either Jarry or Andujar, Andujar hasn’t played a match since 2016 and is returning from injury. Haase over Fucsovics is my pick in the quarters.
Bautista Agut d. Cilic
Anderson d. Haase
It would be a rematch of the Abu Dhabi final, but a sensible one, RBA and Anderson should ride a wave of good form into the final, with Anderson the favorite. Cilic leads the h2h with RBA 4-1 and won both matches last year but I’m not sure he’ll be at his best.
Anderson d. Bautista Agut