Three Little Pigs: ATP Montpellier QF Preview


Montpellier has been chock full of upsets this week with only two seeds left standing as the quarterfinals are set to take place on Friday. Top seed Richard Gasquet looks to keep the French hopes alive as he battles 8th seed Marcos Baghdatis.

(1) Richard Gasquet vs (8) Marcos Baghdatis
Gasquet showed no worse for the wear coming back from an injury layoff in his opener against Ernests Gulbis. The Frenchman did not face a break point on serve and told reporters that his back felt fine after the match. That is good news for the top seed who missed all of January due to a herniated disc. Baghdatis has been a bit uneven in two matches, but has not dropped a set. He beat Lukas Lacko 7-5, 7-5 to open and then rallied from a big second set deficit to oust Taro Daniel 6-2, 7-6 (7).

This will be the fourth all-time meeting between the two. Surprisingly, the Cypriot has won all three matches on three different surfaces without dropping a set. Baghdatis won the most recent battle in Rotterdam in 2013 by a final of 6-4, 6-4. Baghdatis is likely to have the confidence to push Gasquet to be at his very best if he wants to continue his title defense. If the 8th seed can get his first serve in more consistently, this one could be decided in a tiebreak or two. Baghdatis has won 59 of 67 first serve points this week, but has only gotten his first serve in half the time.

I think Gasquet’s fresh legs could be a difference maker late in this one. Expect Baggy to probably grab at least a set here and another upset isn’t that far fetched.

Gasquet wins in three sets

(q) Dustin Brown vs Ruben Bemelmans
Anyone who had this match-up in their quarterfinal predictions needs to be in line for Lottery tickets immediately. Bemelmans took down 6th seed Joao Sousa in the opening round in three sets. Sousa had been a hot commodity in these smaller indoor tournaments in recent years. Bemelmans followed that up with a tough three set win over Jan-Lennard Struff on Thursday. Brown has run through qualifying this week and scored his first career win over third seed Gilles Simon on Thursday.

Brown has flashed a big and consistent serve this week. That will go a long way in helping him continue his surprise run this week. Bemelmans has done a masterful job of hanging onto serve this week, saving 20 of 23 break chances. That is way too many opportunities that will eventually catch up with him. Brown has done a nice job converting this week, so if the Belgian dishes up another slew of break chances, the dread-locked qualifier has every reason to believe he can score the win and advance.

Brown wins in three sets

Alexander Zverev vs Michael Berrer
Two Germans will have a rare opportunity to slip into an ATP level semifinal with a win. For Zverev, it’s been a fine week so far. He saved a match point in his opener against Luca Vanni in the opening round to win in three. He followed that up by stunning second seed Marin Cilic in a pair of tiebreaks. Berrer started his campaign in Montpellier by taking out 7th seed Borna Coric in straight sets. He then beat French qualifier Kenny De Schepper in straight sets in the second round.

This will be meeting number two for these two with Berrer having won their only previous meeting last year in Beijing 6-4, 6-4. The savvy vet Berrer has been unstoppable when he lands his first serve in this week. Zverev has been less dominant, but has shown tremendous fight in saving 13 of 16 break chances. That will be a key point in this quarterfinal match-up. Berrer has only allowed three break points this week, saving one. This is a difficult call as Zverev has the overall game to beat Berrer, but may be lacking just enough on serve to fall.

Berrer wins in straight sets


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