Fine Swine: ATP Acapulco SF Preview

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The semifinals at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel are set to take place this evening in Acapulco. Only two seeds are left with fourth seed Dominic Thiem as the highest seed remaining. Play will open with the other seed, #5 Bernard Tomic, battling Alexandr Dolgopolov.

(5) Bernard Tomic vs Alexandr Dolgopolov
Dolgopolov has been impressive this week, getting into one his hot streaks that we’ve seen on occassion in the past. It is these heaters that make his dizzying losses early in other tournaments tough to swallow. In Acapulco, he dismantled top seed David Ferrer in the second round and followed that up on Thursday with a straight sets job over Robin Haase. Tomic has been a bit less convincing in his wins this week, although he too has yet to drop a set. Tomic has marched through Rajeev Ram, Adrian Mannarino and Illya Marchenko in the first three rounds. He has dropped serve four times in the last two rounds, while Dog has surrendered his just twice all week.

This is Dog vs. Bernie #10. The Ukrainian leads 6-3 in the previous meetings, with the pair splitting two clashes in 2015. Dog won in Cincinnati during one of his hot streaks, when he made it from qualifying to the semifinals. Tomic won the other in Memphis. That was Bernie’s first win over Dolgopolov in a tournament not played in his native Australia. This will be a fascinating watch as both really like to mix it up with slices and varied pace shots that can be both amazing and ridiculously ill-timed.

This week, Dog has been in a groove more often than not and it all starts with his serve. He has started slow, but once settled, has been nearly impenetrable. Tomic has been more forgiving and allowed Marchenko back into the match in both sets yesterday. Chances are a repeat performance won’t see Bernie afforded that luxury. The Dog is playing more consistently at the moment and unless the faucet runs cold out of the blue, this should be his match to take.

Prediction
Dolgpolov in straight sets

(4) Dominic Thiem vs Sam Querrey
Two of the hotter players on the ATP World Tour meet in the second semifinal. Thiem has parlayed his clay court prowess in recent weeks over to the hard courts in Acapulco. The Austrian has now won 11 of his last 12 matches. He had Grigor Dimitrov under constant pressure in the quarterfinals, threatening to break the Bulgarian time after time. His own serve has proven to be a weapon along with his great backhand and mostly solid forehand. For Querrey, he takes an eight match win streak into tonight’s meeting. Querrey found his form in Delray Beach last week, where he won the title. This week, he has continued to look solid with an upset of 2015 Acapulco finalist Kei Nishikori and yesterday’s three set win over Taylor Fritz. It’s been all about the serve for Querrey as it usually is. When his serve is in rocket mode, he is difficult to beat.

This is the first meeting between these two, so there will likely be a feeling out process in the first set. With the way both are serving this week, that could mean this one is decided late or in a tiebreak. Thiem is 8-3 n tiebreaks this year, 1-1 this week. Querrey is 5-3 on the year in breakers and has not played one yet this tournament. First serve is a monster stat for both of these guys as they are nearly impossible to handle when they are landing a high percentage. Both have done well in that category this week with Thiem winning 114 of 173 first serve points. Querrey has won 89 of 105.

Thiem has better variety off the ground, but that variety won’t matter if Querrey is blistering in his serve time and time again. That will set the American up to keep more pressure on the Austrian to match his serve. While Thiem has the ability to do that, he’s also less adept at savign break points than Querrey. Thiem has saved 57 percent of his break chances this season, while Querrey has saved 70 percent. Querrey has allowed just four break chances through thre matches, while Thiem has allowed 13. It should be noted most of those came in his first round match (9). In a match on inches, every break chance could be magnified in this one.

Prediction
Querrey wins in three sets

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