It’s second round action in Memphis today with a pair of seeds opening play. Here is a look at three matches to watch in today’s Three Little Pigs.
(3) Donald Young vs Marcel Granollers
This is a tough opener for Young. Yes, he made the semifinals in Memphis last year, but his early season form has left much to be desired. He has not played since the Australian Open, where he lost to Santiago Giraldo in four sets. Indoor events have been more miss than hit for “The Donald” in the last few years. His run in Memphis last year was his best result in an indoor hard court since making a final in Bangkok in 2011.
Granollers has a match under his belt, a straight forward win over Malek Jaziri 6-1, 6-3. The Spaniard also hadn’t had a ton of success early in the season, but he’s got a stellar mark against lefties at 29-10. This one likely comes down to who can find their service rhythm better. When Young is getting first serves in comfortably, it usually enhances the rest of his game. Conversely, if he’s being forced to a lot of second serves or flashes an inconsistent first serve, it seems to effect his overall game. Granollers carries some of those same traits.
With the medium to slow conditions of the surface in Memphis, no one is likely to hit through the other in this match-up. Small edge to Granollers for the Pig with the history of seeds losing at this tournament, unless they are named Nishikori.
Granollers wins in three sets
(2) Steve Johnson vs Taylor Fritz
This is another chance for the 18-year old Fritz to make a name against a fellow American. He got a shot earlier this year in the main draw of the Australian Open where Jack Sock outlasted him in five sets. This could be a better spot. Johnson certainly has the raw power to trouble anyone, but his consistency all-around has been a sticking point. Fritz has continued to show improvement as his name floats about as perhaps the new, next hope in American tennis.
For those who have not seen the teen yet, he has a solid serve that suits his 6’4″ frame and shows good movement and shot making ability from both wings. The forehand is his best weapon, but his backhand is not a liability as it can be for many young players. To beat Johnson, he’ll need to match the second seed on serve. There is reason to believe the younger American can do that.
This will be Johnson’s first match of the week, whereas Fritz has a win already over Michael Mmoh. If Fritz can strike early and establish some firm belief that he can win, this has the makings of a thriller.
Fritz wins in three sets
(7) John Millman vs Benjamin Becker
Millman has scored some great results to start his 2016 season. The Aussie has six wins at the ATP level this season, almost half of what he has for his entire career. His first round match though could be reason for concern. He was able to survive in three sets against Austin Krajicek, but seemed a bit fatigued towards the end of the match. He was broken twice in the final set, but managed to stay in it with Krajicek allowing ten break points.
Becker was up and down in his opening match against Tommy Paul. His serve dipped in the second set that he lost in the 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win. The German would find it again in the third when it was needed. This match will be an indicator of what shape Millman is in for the week. He did have to travel from Montpellier, France over the weekend to Memphis after a quarterfinal run at the Open Sud de France. That could explain for some tired legs that may rebound after getting acclimated to a new city.
The Pig is still stuck on upsets today though and the chitlins’ feel one here.
Benjamin Becker in straight sets