Thursday's Matches to Watch: Medvedev v. Verdasco; Halep v. Goerges

Thursday's Matches to Watch: Medvedev v. Verdasco; Halep v. Goerges

If Medvedev is going to become one of the game's elite, this is the type of match he'll need to get used to winning. 

Simona Halep vs. Julia Goerges

Qatar Total Open, Doha, Quarterfinals
Simona Halep (ROU) - UTR 13.25, WTA No. 3 
Julia Goerges (GER) - UTR 13.07, WTA No. 16

Although they have only played twice before, Julia Goerges does not appear to match up well against the speedy Romanian. In their previous two meetings—2014 Madrid and 2016 Miami—Halep lost just seven total games. On paper, Halep is the clear favorite in this match, but that doesn't mean this is going to be another blowout. 

One Goerges loss came on red clay, but the other was on the slow gritty hard courts of Miami. On slower courts, the better mover will always have the advantage. Halep is arguably the best mover on the WTA tour.

On a quicker surface, like Doha, Goerges should be able to take the racquet out of Halep’s hands. The 2018 WTA ace leader will need to serve well and use the pace of the court to her advantage. She will need to take balls on the rise and move forward, something she does fairly well. 

Halep is playing a different Goerges this time around. This match should present a fun contrast of styles with Halep ultimately outlasting the big-serving German. 

Daniil Medvedev vs. Fernando Verdasco

ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, Rotterdam, Round of 16
Daniil Medvedev (RUS) - UTR 15.85, ATP No. 16
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) - UTR 15.47, ATP No. 26

In the past year, Daniil Medvedev has gone from one of the tour's promising youngsters to one of the very best players in the world, period. The lanky Russian sits at No. 16 in the ATP rankings, but in terms of his three-month trending UTR rating, he is currently the fourth-toughest player in the world.

I find this matchup interesting because a Fernando Verdasco provides a great Litmus test for your game. Verdasco has hovered around the world’s Top 30 for the better part of a decade. His lefty forehand is one of a kind, and he has the talent to blow anyone off the court on any given day. Verdasco knows he is the underdog and will come out of the gates crushing the ball. He has nothing to lose, which is usually when he is at his most dangerous. 

I would like to see Medvedev come out and smother the aging-but-still-relevant Verdasco. Fresh off his Sofia title last week, a small letdown would be understandable. However, Medvedev does not strike me as the kind of competitor prone to letdowns, and he seems like he has a real killer instinct. If the big Russian is going to become one of the game's elite, this is the type of match he'll need to get used to winning. 

ATP Rotterdam (Mon - Sun 2/11 - 2/17)
•    See Marin Cilic, Kei Nishikori, Karen Khachanov and Stefanos Tsitsipas live on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Monday 2/11 at 6:30 am ET.

ATP New York (Mon - Sun 2/11 - 2/17)
•    Watch Frances Tiafoe, John Isner and Alex de Minaur live from New York starting Monday 2/11 at 11:00 am ET

WTA Doha (Mon - Sat 2/11 - 2/16)
•    Starting Monday 2/11 at 7:30 am ET, catch live coverage of the Qatar Total Open featuring Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova and Angelique Kerber.

ATP Buenos Aires (Mon - Sun 2/11 - 2/17)
•    Catch the action from the Argentina Open including Dominic Thiem, Fabio Fognini and Diego Schwartzman. Live coverage begins on Tennis Channel Plus on Monday 2/11 at 12:30 pm ET

USTA College Match Day 3 Lake Nona - (Sat - 2/16)
•    Tennis Channel Plus features live coverage of USTA College Matches in Lake Nona on Saturday 2/16 4:00 pm ET