VIDEO – Tsitsipas v Moutet, Lopez v Gasquet & others : Day 8 Preview
Two masters of the format facing each other, The Greek God tested by The Tornado: Here is the full Day 8 schedule.
Match 1 – 4:00PM CET: Dustin Brown “The Artist” vs Elliot Benchetrit “The Underdog”
“The Artist” has not crafted a masterpiece thus far at UTS, so it’s now or never for Dustin Brown on Sunday as he prepares to face “The Underdog”, Elliot Benchetrit in the final match of Week 4 of UTS.
Brown, the lowest-ranked player at the UTS, has demonstrated flashes of brilliance but he just hasn’t been able to connect the dots and sustain the euphoric tennis that he strives to play. Perhaps he’ll play more loosely and serve bigger after recovering from the right ankle injury that forced him out of action last Sunday. If so, it would be a welcome development.
Benchetrit may be The Underdog by name but in reality he has been the better player at UTS thus far. He defeated Lucas Pouille in week two and last week raised eyebrows with a steady stream of elevated shot-making against The Wall, David Goffin.
Benchetrit may indeed be a part of the future of French tennis. He’s got great hands and a hard-to-read game that features a lot of imagination. Can Brown prove that he’s the real artist in this match-up and take a much-needed win on Day 8, or will it be The Underdog who squeaks out another impressive victory?
Match 2 – 5:15PM CET: Stefanos Tsitsipas “The Greek God” vs Corentin Moutet “The Tornado”
Not too many people will have known much about Corentin Moutet before the UTS but the Frenchman has made a name for himself in the south of France and now gets the chance for the biggest scalp of all, The Greek God, Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The Tornado has blown into the south of France with his unique blend of touch and drama and Tsitsipas will need to be on his guard if he is not to suffer the upset.
Already rising in the rankings, Moutet has repaid the faith of Patrick Mouratoglou, who had no hesitation bringing him to replace the injured Lucas Pouille and The Tornado will try to repay that trust with another show-stopping performance.
Whether the 21-year-old can do it will also depend on Tsitsipas, who has shown he can focus on the task at hand, whatever’s coming from the other side of the net. The Greek God wants to seal his Final 4 spot so Moutet, who can let his emotions get the better of him, will need to match his legendary fire.
Match 3 – 6:30PM CET: Matteo Berrettini “The Hammer” vs Alexei Popyrin “The Sniper”
“The Hammer” Matteo Berrettini has emerged as a bonafide top 10 talent over the last year and he’s backed up that status impressively here at UTS. On Sunday The Sniper Alexei Popyrin gets exactly what he was looking for when he signed up to be a part of the star-studded UTS field; a chance to play with – and take down – one of the best.
It’s not been something that the talented Aussie has been able to do thus far in his career. The 20-year-old has never won a completed match against any player inside the top 30 and at times over the last three weeks he’s shown why. The Aussie can lose his confidence when things are not going his way and he tends to wear the disappointment like a mask of shame when things start to fall apart for him on the court.
If this happens today, look for Berrettini to pounce. The Italian is a mighty, menacing aggressor and he is at his best when he’s calling the shots on court. Let that be a warning to Popyrin; if the Aussie can’t elevate his mental state he could get crushed by the crippling blows of The Hammer.
Match 4 – 9:00PM CET: Feliciano Lopez “El Torero” vs Richard Gasquet “The Virtuoso”
Fast and furious, done and dusted. The one-hour format is perfect for these two tried and true veterans and today we’re going to see which one of them is truly a UTS master as “El Torero”, Feliciano Lopez and “The Virtuoso”, Richard Gasquet jockey for a spot in the Final 4 ahead of the last weekend of matches.
Lopez has been a card-carrying member of the three-point club since UTS started. The Spaniard has shown an uncanny knack for raining down aces just after he’s chosen his winner x 3 card. He’ll likely need them because if he finds himself drawn into extended rallies with the wily Gasquet he could find himself with a pair of tired legs and a lot of frustration.
The Virtuoso has been in resplendent form so far at UTS. Gasquet loves the setting and has demonstrated feel for the format, often-times using his cards tactically to build out early leads. He’s also won seven out of eight ATP matches with Lopez, which shouldn’t hurt his confidence. But don’t sleep on Lopez; the Spaniard can rack up points in bunches when he plays his cards right.
So sit tight and get ready to enjoy two old-school battlers as they try to excel at this new-school format.
Match 5 – 10:15PM CET: Benoit Paire “The Rebel” vs David Goffin “The Wall”
Expect the unexpected from Paire, who will look to knock Goffin off his baseline with improvised tactics and rope-a-dope combos. Drop shots, net forays and that gonzo backhand of Paire’s will all be in play.
For Goffin, the devil will be in details. He’ll seek to weather The Rebel’s fire with an icy stare and soldier on with the game plan in mind. Namely, attack Paire’s weaker wing – the forehand – and probe The Rebel to see what gets under his skin.
If Paire has put his health issues behind him, this will be a winnable match. He’s split his six previous battles with Goffin, and here at UTS, where the cards call the shots, it has been The Rebel who has embraced the format the better. But if Paire is not willing to dig in with a stiff resolve, it’s unlikely that he’ll find a way to climb The Wall.