Ilya Ivashka – Tallon Griekspoor will take place on Monday in the first round at the ATP 500 tournament in Barcelona, played on red clay.
Ivashka has been quite solid since the European clay court season started. He played in Marbella, where he lost a tight three setter against Munar in the quarterfinals (high level match) after beating Pedro Martinez and Davidovich Fokina. Then he came here in Barcelona, qualifying on the main draw following very comfortable wins with Cressy and Gaio.
Griekspoor had a good stretch this year between mid February and mid March, passing qualifications to reach the second round in the strong tournaments at Montpellier and Acapulco. During that timespan he had a couple of good wins (Alcaraz, Giron, Kokkinakis) and took sets in losses against Humbert, Chardy and Ruud. However, those results came on hard courts. On clay he didn’t look that good in the past couple of weeks, losing to Dellien in the Belgrade challenger first round and struggling in the Barcelona qualifications with Rodionov and Gimeno Valero.
This will be the first H2H meeting between Ivashka and Griekspoor.
Both are hard courters who can play on clay. Ivashka, even though he only has a 30-27 overall record on the red dirt, has a game which is better suited for the surface and looked quite natural these last couple of weeks. It seems he has upped his game on the surface this year. Particularly against an in form clay courter like Munar he was very strong, going the distance and almost winning that match.
The eye test is hard to ignore here. Ivashka has played really well in Marbella and in the qualifying stage here in Barcelona. Meanwhile Griekspoor has not. We all know everything can change in an instant in tennis, but such a momentum swing seems unlikely to occur in this match. Not to mention Ivashka is the better player overall.
I expect Ilya to be more consistent and draw errors from Griekspoor with his smart aggressive game. I’d argue he has more variety in his shots and will be able to ask his opponent different questions. In the end, I expect Ivashka to come out on top with a solid performance against average opposition. I’ll back the Belarusian here. Odds are currently dropping on him. Prediction: Ilya Ivashka – Tallon Griekspoor 7-6 6-2.