This will be a first between these two Germans.
Dominik Koepfer has never played in this ATP 250 before.
As for Philipp Kohlschreiber, he knows this tournament very well. He has already played it 15 times. The German has only lost twice in the first round, and his best performance is a trophy lifted in 2007, 2012 and 2016.
At 37, Philipp Kohlschreiber is still in the game. Even if he is far from his former level, he still manages to offer some very sexy phases of play. But he still has to show it, since he hasn’t played much since the beginning of the year. The German started his 2021 season two weeks ago at the Belgrade Challenger where he fell in the 2nd round to Damir Dzumhur.
Dominik Koepfer could be a bit sharper in this early match as he should be in better shape to play long rallies. It is also worth noting that the left-hander has taken advantage of his appearances in Monte Carlo and Barcelona to get used to playing at a high level.
There is a lot of uncertainty about the level of Philipp Kohlschreiber. If he can’t come up with something solid, then he could be out of the picture very quickly.
However, I would like to believe in a victory for the veteran here. There are positive things in what he showed in Belgrade. I think of his serve, which was far from being abominable. And when he is sharp in that area, everything else follows.
Philipp Kohlschreiber is an experienced player who plays a lot with his head. He loves clay and knows how to hold rallies from behind his baseline. What is also interesting is his ability to vary his game and play at the net. I can see the German grandfather being able to disrupt his compatriot. Koepfer can start to have doubts pretty quickly when he sees that he is losing control of things.
On the other hand, Philipp Kohlschreiber has good stats against lefties lately. Since 2017, he’s played 17 matches against lefties and won 12 of them, and on clay, it’s only 2 losses in 7 matches (one of which was against Nadal; doesn’t that count?).
Philipp Kohlschreiber is in a tournament that loves him very much. He holds the record for the most wins. He is a player who loves to play in his country, and I expect him to give his all to go far in this competition. Still, we agree that he has to pass this first round.
Prediction: Philipp Kohlschreiber wins