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27 Jul 2018

Nicolas Jarry vs Nikoloz Basilashvili: German Open semifinal preview and prediction

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History

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Path to the semifinals

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How do they match up?

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Prediction

(Photo credit: Frederic de Villamil)

In a clash few would have predicted at the start of the week, Chile’s rising star Nicolas Jarry takes on Nikoloz Basilashvili for a place in the Hamburg final. Jarry first came to attention earlier this year in Brazil where he reached the last four in Rio before reaching the final in Sao Paolo (lost to Fognini). Basilashvili, meanwhile, has failed to entirely kick on after a career-best season last year, but has reached two Tour-level finals in the past. Who will come out on top?

History

This will be a first meeting at Tour-level for Jarry and Basilashvili, but they have faced off once before. That meeting came two years ago at a Challenger in Savannah, Georgia on the green clay in the first round. Jarry won that contest, downing Basilashvili 7-6 6-2 and went on to reach the quarterfinals, where he lost to Denis Kudla of the USA. Basilashvili, the elder man by four years, has a better career record with 52 victories to Jarry’s 25, but the Chilean does have 20 wins this year to Basilashvili’s 15.

Path to the semifinals

Jarry began his Hamburg campaign with a dominant win against German Peter Gojowczyk, affording the home crowd little chance to rally behind their man as he dismantled Gojowczyk 6-1 6-2. That set up a clash with Richard Gasquet, who reached the final in Bastad last week, but the Frenchman was forced to retire sending Jarry into the quarterfinals. There he overcame Dominic Thiem to record his first top ten win after twice rallying from significant deficits in a tiebreak to win 7-6 7-6.

Basilashvili came through the qualifying, where he was top seed, to reach the main draw, battling past Jurgen Melzer 6-4 4-6 7-5 in the final round. In the first round proper he defeated German #2 Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5 1-6 6-4. He then bested Pablo Cuevas 7-6 6-4 in the second round to reach the quarterfinals where the third seeded Pablo Carreno Busta awaited. Basilashvili played confidently throughout to record an impressive 7-6 6-4 win on a day of upsets.

How do they match up?

Jarry is the bigger hitter of the two. Standing six-and-a-half feet tall, the Chilean uses every inch of his frame when attacking the ball, with his forehand a particularly potent shot. He has drawn comparisons with two-time former French Open finalist Robin Soderling on that wing, with Jarry hitting the ball with a flat trajectory similar to that deployed by the Swede. He is also comfortable hitting his backhand aggressively. However, he can struggle with accuracy off the ground.

Basilashvili is an exceptionally clean ball striker when he is focused. Like Jarry, he favours his forehand but is not entirely reliant on it. However, he cannot match the 22-year-old’s power and accuracy when stepping to the line, with Jarry’s greater height providing him an advantage there. But Basilashvili is the better mover of the two, and whilst Jarry generally struggles when forced to defend deep in the corners, Basilashvili has the skillset to do just that.

Prediction

This should be a closely contested encounter between two players with little to separate them on paper. Both men have also been playing fine tennis all week, with their quarterfinal victories particularly impressive. But Jarry’s greater arsenal provides him with an advantage that Basilashvili will find hard to overcome. It may only be a slight advantage, but in a match up as close as this, it will be enough to tip the balance decisively in his favour. Jarry in three.