An intriguing second round contest is set to take place on Thursday afternoon in Umag, as Italy’s Andreas Seppi and Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas meet for the first time on the professional tour. The two once contested a match-up on the Challenger circuit back in 2010, but have since never crossed paths in professional competition.
As one of the top seeds in the tournament, Andreas Seppi received a bye into the second round in Umag, and will now await his contest against the Uruguayan qualifier. He is coming off a third round loss to David Ferrer in Hamburg, and is now in a position where he needs to defend semi-final points from last year’s showing at this event.
The Italian has dropped down to world No. 45 this season, and while he was able to pick up 30 wins on the tour last season, he has now managed a poor 13-19 record on the tour.
Just two weeks ago, Pablo Cuevas became the first Uruguayan champion in 17 years after winning his maiden title on the ATP World Tour in Bastad. Cuevas dispatched Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-2, 6-1 in just 59 minutes to lift the SkiStar Swedish Open title. It marked a sweet return for Cuevas, who missed all of 2012 following a knee surgery and boosted him from No. 111 to No. 60 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
Cuevas began his week in Umag with a three set victory over Mate Delic. The Urugyaian struck 8 aces and converted 5 break points to secure 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win in 2 hours and 4 minutes. He is now riding a six-match winning streak and looking to extend it further before beginning his run at the US Open Series.
Although Cuevas and Seppi have crossed paths before on the ATP Challenger circuit, this will mark the first time they meet on the ATP Word Tour. Seppi has had a terrible season on the tour and has looked a shade of his former self less than 12 months prior. Cuevas, on the other hand, is a resurgent force that is rapidly ascending the Emirates ATP Rankings and hungry for more wins.
Prediction: Pablo Cuevas in Three Sets