Andy Murray and Alexander Zverev could meet in the second round of the bett1HULKS Indoors in Cologne. We break down…
Andy Murray and Alexander Zverev could meet in the second round of the bett1HULKS Indoors in Cologne.
We break down the men’s singles draw, analyse the contenders and predict the semifinalists and champion as Alexander Zverev, Andy Murray and Roberto Bautista Agut lead the field at the bett1HULKS Indoors in Cologne, Germany, a new ATP 250.
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ATP Cologne Indoors Preview
A new addition to the tennis calendar in 2020 for one year only, back-to-back ATP 250 events will be played on indoor hard courts in Cologne, Germany at the Lanxness Arena.
The bett1HULKS Indoors will be played from 12-18 October, followed by the bett1HULKS Championships.
With players eager to seize any chance to compete before the decimated 2020 season comes to an end, the bett1HULKS Indoors has attracted a strong field led by world no. 7 Alexander Zverev and world no. 10 Roberto Bautista Agut, with Andy Murray taking a wildcard into the tournament.
ATP Cologne Indoors Draw Analysis
There will be fireworks from the first round in Cologne with wildcard Andy Murray drawn to face Fernando Verdasco, with the winner moving on to face top seed Zverev.
Murray beat Zverev at the ‘Cincinnati’ Masters in just his second match since the previous November, but the German has made the US Open final since then – and Murray would have to beat Verdasco to get to that clash. The Spanish left-hander, most recently in the news for announcing he intends to sue the French Open for not letting him play, is 4-13 against Murray but has won their last two matches (since Murray’s hip injury).
Zverev and Verdasco have also played some close matches, so this won’t be easy for the world no. 7. Nor will be a potential quarterfinal clash with Filip Krajinovic, the big-serving Serbian who plays well indoors – he made the final of the Paris Masters in 2017 – and who has been having decent results recently.
The second quarter is more open with mercurial Benoit Paire, who is 1-5 since shutdown, and Marin Cilic its seeds. Cilic has eight titles on indoor hard courts but is searching for form; if the 2014 US Open champion can get past Ricardas Berankis, a good player on indoor hard, in the first round, he faces Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the second and should be secure into the semifinals.
Germany’s best prospects in the draw apart from Zverev are in the third quarter, with big-serving Jan-Lennard Struff the seventh seed. Struff had a poor run on clay but he was playing decently on hard courts in the USA; he opens against Mikael Ymer with Radu Albot, against whom Struff is 4-1, likely to await in the second round.
Struff was knocked out of the French Open by compatriot Daniel Altmaier, the qualifier who made a big impression when he ousted Matteo Berrettini on his way to the last 16. Altmaier, given a wildcard into Cologne, could meet Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round.
Auger-Aliassime made back-to-back ATP finals on indoor hard courts in the spring, but has had poor results of late – can he find form in a switch of surface?
Just one of world no. 10 Roberto Bautista Agut’s career titles have come on indoor hard courts but he’s made several finals. He doesn’t have an easy draw though: Veteran Gilles Simon or Marton Fucsovics, who just made a good run to the fourth round of Roland Garros, in the second round. If Bautista Agut can get past that, big-serving Hubert Hurkacz shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
ATP Cologne Indoors Prediction
Zverev vs Cilic
Bautista Agut d. Struff
Zverev d. Bautista Agut