Mikhail Youzhny vs Mischa Zverev Tennis Prediction
Entering the qualifying stages as the top seed, Mikhail Youzhny scored dominant straight-set wins over David Guez (6-2 6-3) and Egor Gerasimov (6-3 6-2) to secure his main draw berth.
Former world #8 Mikhail Youzhny is a former champion of ATP Stuttgart as he lifted this title on his debut appearance in 2002. Apart from that, he made the semifinal once (2014) and quarterfinal twice, in 2003 and 2016.
Only once in his previous nine appearances, the veteran Russian has faced a first-round defeat in Stuttgart, against Paul Henri Mathieu in 2009. However, past records mean nothing as he is going through a rough patch at the moment, having won just three of his last nine matches (excluding his wins at Stuttgart this week).
While Youzhny has already played three matches on grass in 2018, Mischa Zverev will play his first match on this surface since losing to Roger Federer in the third round of Wimbledon 2017.
In 2017, the veteran German played 11 matches on this surface and managed to win seven of them, including a semifinal appearance here at ATP Stuttgart. More importantly, he crossed the first round hurdle in all the four grass tournaments that he entered last season (Stuttgart, Halle, Eastbourne and Wimbledon).
Mischa Zverev ended his poor run of form by reaching the third round at the French Open last fortnight, which will give him some much-needed confidence going into the grass season. It was only the second time he managed to win more than one match in a tournament this season (French Open and Monte Carlo).
Mischa Zverev won their only previous meeting which was played on the indoor hard courts of St. Petersburg (Youzhny’s home) in 2008. Considering the current form and playing conditions, this first round match is very evenly poised with the Russian having the slight edge.
Tennis Prediction: Mischa Zverev