The prince of clay Cecchinato reached the semi-final of the French Open last year and has been strong on clay this season, also winning the Argentinian Open where he defeated Diego Schwartzman without dropping a set in the entire tournament. On that basis, we don’t see him losing a set to ‘Mr Over-the-Hill’, Nicholas Mahut, who still hasn’t recovered since the three-day slog with John Isner at Wimbledon.
Now at 37 years of age and ranked 253 Mahut is mainly gracing the challenger circuit with very little success so I can’t see him getting much in this step up in class and distance.
Leo Mayer, as he is properly known, has taken five out of the six previous meetings and we can’t see this one being any different. Although Mayer has not been having much success on the ATP Tour, Vesely has been having as little success on the challenger tour which is a major drop down in class.
The crafty Argie is also ranked about 40 spots in the rankings ahead of the cowardly (slightly harsh) Czech who can’t cut it at the top level. Mayer has shown form at other clay court tournaments such as Hamburg where he was twice a winner and also a finalist. We think the Argentinian grit will pull Mayer through this match.
The Frenchman’s tennis is just as great as his name and with the vociferous home crowd behind him, we think he will pop past Alexei. The French man should have too much for Popyrin over the five set distance with the French ultras at his back. Humbert has shown much more at challenger level in particular than Popyrin winning 2 challenger titles in the past 6 months. We fancy him to do the biz here.