These two players have already faced each other 5 times in official matches. Jan-Lennard Struff won 3 of those matches, but lost the only one played on clay (in 2016 in the final of the Challenger in Heilbronn, Germany).
This is the first time that these two players have participated in this ATP 250 in Sardinia.
In this edition
Nikoloz Basilashvili took advantage of his ranking to pass the first round. The Georgian made his debut in the competition against Jozef Kovalik and it was not easy. A victory in 3 sets and 3 hours of play.
Jan-Lennard Struff beat Joao Sousa in the first round and Liam Broady in the second.
This match could be a very good show as we are dealing with two players who like to take risks in order to win shots. Unless we see a display of unforced errors. Well, okay.
This Wednesday, Nikoloz Basilashvili played his first match on clay since September 29. So we could imagine him in lack of reference and being hooked by Kovalik. This is indeed what happened. Nevertheless, I’m not really convinced by this entry into the competition, and that’s why I’m going to look at his opponent.
Jan-Lennard Struff had the opportunity to play two matches in this tournament and we could see that he was coming on strong. One of my favorite things about the German is his solidity on serve. Nikoloz Basilashvili is capable of being quite unstable in his games, and we saw that in his last match where he won only 51% of the points on it and conceded 16 break points.
In rallies, Nikoloz Basilashvili is able to play with intensity. He can also hit the ball very hard and that can destabilize many. I just see him losing more than once this power battle against Jan-Lennard Struff. The German has been very aggressive in his last few matches. He has that ability to make his opponents back off and then make effective climbs to the net. Since the Georgian may have to back off a lot in the defensive phase, we should see the German make some runs forward.
On the other hand, Basilashvili is hitting hard without consistently finding good areas. If he doesn’t improve in this new match, Jan-Lennard Struff could manage to fix him more than once.
I remain very cautious in this prediction given that these two men are quite irregular since the beginning of the season. Not to mention that Nikoloz Basilashvili is able to activate a “God Mode”. What a cheater.
Prediction: Jan-Lennard Struff wins