The opening day of the Rothesay International at the ATP Eastbourne competition takes place on Monday and it will see six singles matches on the card mixed in with all the WTA action on the courts at Devonshire Park.
We have to wait until later in the week for the bigger seeded players to come to the party but there are plenty of Brits in action on the opening day and a few other names who you would think will be able to do some damage at an event of this size.
Just the two matches take place in the Centre Court on Monday and they bookend the action with a bunch of women’s games in between. The defending champion Alex de Minaur gets his title defence up and running in the first of the games. He has a date with the clay courter Cristian Garin in a match the Australian will be expected to advance in. The other match on the main court sees two youngsters colliding when Jenson Brooksby takes on the British wildcard Jack Draper, who showed what he can do when he took care of Taylor Fritz at Queens last week.
We have to wait for the second and third matches of the day on the second court for the two men’s matches to come around. There is a chance to take on the number one seed Cameron Norrie in the second round up for grabs in the first game when the wildcard Jay Clarke meets the qualifier Brandon Nakashima before Frances Tiafoe goes up against Alexander Bublik, who should be mustard on this surface but seems to flatter to deceive on it bizarrely.
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The other two singles matches come out on Court 2 where they are actually the first two matches onto the court. It is a big day for the Americans on this court and two of them get us started when the seeded Reilly Opelka will look to rebound from a pathetic performance in the opening match at Queens last week when he takes on Maxime Cressy. The other match sees Sebastian Korda looking for a place in the second round when he takes on John Millman in a good looking contest.
Jack Draper was one of my outright bets at Queens last week and when he had disposed of Taylor Fritz in the first round I was getting excited about my chances, only for him to run into a train truck of a performance from Emil Ruusuvuori in the second round. The Briton offered a heck of a lot more in both of his matches than what Jenson Brooksby did in his tame first round loss to Filip Krajinovic, although to be fair to the American the Serb certainly did the form no harm over the rest of the week.
Brooksby made the final in Newport last year to show that he can play on grass but the three matches he has played on it this year have suggested he isn’t comfortable on it. He prefers the ball to be bouncing high so that his groundstrokes and defensive skills can come to the fore. I don’t see Draper allowing those skills to come to the boil in this match as he has the serve to get Brooksby off the court and he can move up the court to finish the points off. Brooksby might not be as bad on grass as he was made to look by Krajinovic last week but I still don’t think he wins this match.
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