Top 20 players David Goffin and Nikoloz Basilashvili, along with defending champion Gilles Simon, lead the 2019 Moselle Open draw, live from Metz, France between September 16-22.
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A homegrown champion has been crowned in eight of the last 10 years at the Moselle Open – will another French player emerge triumphant in 2019?
Benoit Paire, Lucas Pouille, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Richard Gasquet and defending champion Gilles Simon lead the French charge, while top seed David Goffin and second seed Nikoloz Basilashvili are among the other top contenders for the title.
Read on below as we break down the draw and predict who will emerge from each quarter!
Projected quarter-final: David Goffin (1) vs Gilles Simon (7) – H2H: Goffin leads 3-2
Both Goffin and Simon know what it’s like to win the Moselle Open title, with the Belgian claiming the silverware in 2014 and the Frenchman defending his crown this week – but only one can make it past the quarter-finals this time around. Goffin has a bye in the opening round and faces the winner of Pablo Carreno Busta and a qualifier in his first match, while Simon has a tough first round against the big-serving Marius Copil, but should he get through that, he has a decent second round against either Aljaz Bedene or wildcard Rayane Roumane.
Goffin is starting to find his best tennis again, reaching the quarter-finals of Wimbledon, finishing runner-up in Cincinnati and making the fourth round at the U.S. Open, but Simon is very tough to beat in French 250 events. I expect these two to live up to their seedings and advance to the last eight – and I’m leaning towards three-time champion Simon to come out on top should that match-up transpire.
Predicted semi-finalist: Simon
Projected quarter-final: Benoit Paire (3) vs Hubert Hurkacz (6) – H2H: Hurkacz leads 2-0
Another section of the draw where I expect the seeds to clash in the quarter-finals. Paire, the 2017 Metz runner-up, is having a great season, winning two ATP titles and coming into this tournament at No. 23 in the world. The enigmatic Frenchman has won 30 matches this season and has improved his consistency, but after a first round bye, he has a potentially tricky first round match against Richard Gasquet – or a qualifier.
Hurkacz has also put together a superb breakout season of sorts and did beat Paire in their only previous clash last month at Winston-Salem. The young Polish player only has wildcards and a man with a protected ranking in his way to the last eight, with Gregoire Barrere waiting in the opening round and if he wins that, Antoine Hoang or Cedrik-Marcel Stebe will await Hurkacz in the second round. It’s looking like a Paire vs Hurkacz quarter-final – and that for me is as 50-50 as it gets.
Predicted semi-finalist: Paire
Projected quarter-final: Lucas Pouille (4) vs Fernando Verdasco (5) – H2H: Level at 1-1
This is a much more open quarter that also includes 2017 champion Peter Gojowczyk, former Paris Masters runner-up Filip Krajinovic and rising Italian Lorenzo Sonego. Pouille and Verdasco haven’t made much of an impact this season, or in the Frenchman’s case, since the Australian Open, where he compiled a surprise run to the semi-finals. Pouille, the 2016 Moselle Open champion, has a bye in the first round before a second round showdown with the winner of Sonego or a qualifier, while Verdasco meets Steve Darcis in the first round and would take on either Krajinovic or Gojowczyk for a place in the quarter-finals.
Predicted semi-finalist: Krajinovic
Projected quarter-final: Nikoloz Basilashvili (2) vs Jan-Lennard Struff (8) – H2H: Basilashvili leads 1-0
Both Basilashvili and Struff are in solid form, but there’s a trio of unseeded French players in this quarter that can do some damage, including three-time champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, rising star Ugo Humbert and the big-serving Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Struff has a tough opening round against Herbert and could then face Tsonga in the second round if the former top 10 star gets past Pablo Andujar in his first round.
Basilashvili has a bye in the first round and takes on the winner of Humbert and a qualifier in the second round. I wouldn’t be surprised if neither Basilashvili or Struff reaches the quarter-finals, despite the pair – especially Struff – having great seasons. This could be a great chance for Tsonga to put together a resurgent week.
Predicted semi-finalist: Tsonga
Simon vs Paire
Krajinovic vs Tsonga
Paire vs Tsonga
The 2019 Moselle Open is live from Metz between September 16-22.