By Jake Davies
- Liam Broady [Q] defeats Ernests Gulbis [Q] 6-3 6-0
- Broady b Mannarino – H2H: Mannarino leads 1-0
ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA – Liam Broady started his main draw campaign with winning ways as he breezed past Ernests Gulbis and sets up a clash with Adrian Mannarino for a spot in the quarter-final.
Liam Broady [Q] defeats Ernests Gulbis [Q] 6-3 6-0
British qualifier Liam Broady produced an emphatic and convincing performance in his straight-sets rout of Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis in the first round of the 250 level tournament at St.Petersburg. Most of Broady’s good results have come at Futures and Challenger’s level and the Brit is vastly inexperienced at ATP level, but looked in frightening form in the straightforward two-sets win today.
The two key standouts for me in this match was the extent of how awkward Broady is as an opponent. Gulbis was forcing most of the points and trying to be the more positive player, but the Brit somehow managed to get two or three balls back that really put his opponent under more pressure. Broady’s defensive game was exceptional in this match. Secondly, his serve kept him afloat throughout the encounter. It is something that the 23-year-old is working on tirelessly in order to become a well-rounded and better player for the remainder of his career.
Liam Broady [Q] vs Adrian Mannarino  H2H: Mannarino leads 1-0
Broady now faces No.4 seed Adrian Mannarino for a place in the quarter-finals. The Frenchman is not necessarily someone that will challenge for big titles on a regular basis on the ATP tour, but he is more than capable of producing some big, unexpected wins and I think he is a level above the players that we regularly see on the Challenger Tour.
Like Broady, Mannarino has quite an unorthodox game, strikes with a left-handed forehand, but usually attacks more with his double-handed backhand. He is one of the rare ATP players that prefers to run around their forehand to hit backhands. The laid-back casualness from his serve up to his groundstroke preparation is an endearing quality when you watch the Frenchman ply his trade.
I think Broady will come unstuck in this match. Mannarino is another step up in class in comparison to Gulbis, when you look at the results that Mannarino has been picking up over the US Hardcourt swing and that is a level that Broady aspires to be playing at, but he is still quite the way to regularly competing at that level against those calibre of players.
Prediction: Mannarino in straight-sets
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