Nottingham 2016: Championship Prediction

Steve Johnson vs (2) Pablo Cuevas

250 level ATP events can lead to some interesting results and this is no exception.  Pablo Cuevas is the #2 seed as 25th ranked player in the world.  Cuevas who stands just under 6′ tall is not the stereotypical grass court contender even in an age of slower grass courts. He has 5 career titles on clay and one runner-up finish in a clay court event.   Yet, here Cuevas is in the final.  Steve Johnson is in his second ATP Tour final and is seeking his first tournament title.  Johnson upset Kevin Anderson in a two-day quarterfinal affair and then won a semifinal match to do double duty in reaching this final.

Johnson has a nice serve and can mix in a low bouncing slice backhand.  This should be a benefit to him on grass.  Cuevas has won two titles in 2016, and even if they were on clay, confidence and familiarity with championship matches are a huge benefit.  Therefore, good reasons exist for picking each player.  My gut says Johnson has an edge based upon his variety.  My head says winning a title is a big step in a player’s career and Cuevas has taken that step 5 times in 6 championship tries.  Johnson, on the other hand, is 0-1 in previous ATP tournament championship round matches.

My Prediction: Pablo Cuevas d. Steve Johnson 7-6, 7-5

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