Three matches on Wednesday in Munich told via the 3 Little Pigs story.
Straw House: Roberto Bautista-Agut
Something tells The Pig that Radek Stepanek is bring his air pump to Munich on Wednesday to try and huff, puff and pull off the upset over #3 seed RBA at the BMW Open. Bautista-Agut had a splendid run in Barcelona last week, making the quarters before losing to eventual champion Kei Nishikori. RBA is 4-3 on dirt this season with losses to Nishikori, Berdych & Sock. Those are certainly not bad losses considering two of the three won their respective tournaments and Berdych made the Finals in his. Still, RBA for me can be a mercurial sort at these smaller tournaments. He also had big points to defend in Madrid next week. Stepanek meanwhile is trying to get his 2015 campaign kickstarted after missing the first three months due to injury. He won easily in the opening round against Dustov who retired down 1-6, 1-4 in the 2nd. Stepanek is just outside the Top 100 at 120, so wins are precious to try and avoid qualis again like he had to play this week, especially at Roland Garros. He’s a decent fit for clay and has done some reasonably good work to get to this spot. Pig’s intuition says he could claim some more points in that bid to get back into the Top 100 against RBA in what looks like a good battle.
Sticks House: David Goffin
The #4 seed this week in Munich needs to have his defense shields up and ready to battle Italian Simone Bolelli. Bolelli had few issues in dismantling German Dustin Brown 6-1, 7-6 in his opener on Tuesday. Bolelli has been in decent form on clay the last few weeks. He lost a tough battle in Monte Carlo to Estrella-Burgos and made the quarters last week in Bucharest before Monfils outsted him 6-3, 7-6. Goffin hasn’t played since Monte Carlo in early April where he lost to a just-returning Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-4. His 2015 has been average after many thought he was bound to further ascend the rankings. He still sits just outside the Top 20 at #21, but he’s 8-8 on the year. Clay has been good to Goffin at the Challenger level, but outside of last year’s Kitzbuhel Title in Austria in the Summer, he stands just 9-14 in other ATP level clay court main draw matches. This time last year, he was having to kick around in qualis to get into the main draws. This year he is here, but needs to prove he’s not just a guy who got hot for a few months last year. Bolelli will press him to do that and although I think Goffin is the better talent, Bolelli is a veteran who already beat him this year on a hard surface back in Sydney. It’s quite possible, Goffin’s house may be worse for the wear after this clash.
Brick House: Phillipp Kohlschreiber
It’s German on German action. That usually costs extra, but Wednesday in Munich it is free of charge when Kohlschreiber battles teen Alexander Zverev. Zverev scored a nice win to open against Benjamin Becker 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. Zverev whipped out 11 aces and was only broken once. That will be the kind of serve he needs to contend with Kohlschreiber. The vet was solid in his opener as crushed a fatigued Jiri Vesely 6-1, 6-2. I think Kohlschreiber will need to improve a bit, but he controlled the action and has the major experience edge here. Zverev is just a shade above 50% for his career on clay. He did prove in Hamburg last July that he can beat the big boys on this surface, so Kohlschreiber needs his A game. Still, Kohli has been great in Munich and should advance if he can maintain a good level of consistency.