Day 3 of ATP Pune will see the top seeded players get their campaigns underway. Botic van de Zandschulp, Sebastian Baez and Emil Ruusuvuori will all be in action as they look to make a strong start to the year. As throughout the week, we will offer our predictions on today’s game. So, who will advance in Pune? We also have predictions including Roberto Carballes Baena vs Marin Cilic.
ITP Pune Day 3 Predictions
Botic van de Zandschulp vs Flavio Cobolli
Head to head: first meeting
Cobolli, the young Italian qualifier, looked good this week by not dropping a set yet. The 20-year-old has very little experience on the ATP Tour, and this will be a big step up in quality from his previous opponents. Van de Zandschulp has had a pretty up-and-down 2022 after breaking at the 2021 US. He is a solid player on all surfaces, but hard courts are probably still where his best tennis lies.
As Kobolli has already played three matches (and won them all convincingly), he will no doubt be warmed up and fit for the conditions. Van de Zandschulp often takes a little time to get going, and I can see this being a difficult opening match for him. The Dutch hit a hard ball and should overpower the Italian, but it may take a while to get over the line.
Prediction: Van de Zandschulp in 3rd
Benjamin Bonzi vs. Emil Ruusuvuori
This should be a really fun meeting. Bonzi had a fantastic 2021 season on the Challenger circuit, and was impressive on the ATP Tour last year. Now that the Frenchman is more used to playing against the best in the world every week, I have no doubt that we will see another strong rise from him. He got off to a brilliant start against Tseng, but it wasn’t an easy match to follow by any means.
Emil Ruusuvuori should be in for a big year in 2023. He is one of the purest ball-strikers on tour, and his consistency is improving all the time. He should be able to stretch Bonzi from the back of the court, but the Frenchman touches brilliantly and will not make life easy for Emil. I can see this going the distance – both have their strengths that will benefit them but I think Ruusuvuori has a little more in his arsenal.
Prediction: Ruusuvuori in 3
Filip Krajinovic vs. Michael Mmoh
Head to head: first meeting
Krajinovic was stretched to three sets in his opening round with Sumit Nagal, and it was a tough match to start the year. He’s always been a very streaky and flaky player, so it’s never easy to know what version of him he’s going to be. When he’s on form, he can mix it with the best, but he’s also susceptible to losing to players ranked far below him.
Michael Mmoh has impressed me for a while. The American is an explosive player, equipped with a fantastic forehand – which could serve him well here. Mmoh came through the talented 15-year-old Manas Dhamne without many issues, but this will be a completely different match. If Krajinovic is tough and aggressive, he should be too strong here. However, I don’t feel like I can fully trust him to be at his best and MMOH has been gathering momentum over the past few seasons. I can see an upset here.
Prediction: Mmoh in 3
Sebastian Baez vs. Pedro Martinez
Head-to-head: 1-0 Martinez
It’s not a surface where we’d expect these two to be facing off, but that’s what intrigues me here. Baez had a brilliant 2022 season until he lost the bust final to Cerundolo, where his year unfortunately came off the rails with just one win in 12 matches. It is important to remember that it was the first ATP season, his hard court experience is limited, and he was given a large number of tough opponents in the first round. His US it. Open meeting with Carlos Alcaraz was all I needed to see to know that he will have success on hard courts, though.
Martinez, like Baez, is much better on clay than on hard courts. He’s a grinder and while he’s hard to beat, he doesn’t have the weapons to make himself much of a threat away from the red dirt. Baez has an incredible forehand (and one of the most underrated lobs in the men’s game), and that, for me, is what the match hinges on. If Baez makes his forehand and takes the game to Martinez, he should come out on top. It won’t be easy by any means as it’s his first match of the year, but I can see him starting with a win here.
Prediction: Baez in 3rd
Main photo of Getty Images