19 Feb 2 All-American matches headline Thursday
at Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com
4 American’s will battle for two places in the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com quarterfinals on Thursday. Before the American’s take center stage, Ugo Humbert of France will play Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia for the second time in two weeks in the opening singles match of the day, not before 12:30 p.m. American young guns Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe complete the day-time slate not before 2:30 p.m. Opening the night session will be Jack Sock and Steve Johnson, before No. 2 seed Milos Raonic closes play Thursday against German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe.
Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) v Ugo Humbert (FRA) – not before 12:30 p.m.
The second match on stadium court and first singles match of the day will feature two of the ATP Tour’s “next gen” with 20-year-old Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic taking on 21-year-old Frenchmen Ugo Humbert. The pair enter the match in great form with both players making fast starts to the 2020 season. Humbert has already won an ATP Tour title this year in Auckland beating Denis Shapovalov and John Isner along the way. However, Kecmanovic comes to Delray having beaten Humbert only last week en route to a semi-final appearance in New York. Kecmanovic’s win in New York extended his lead in the pair’s head to head to 3-0. The young Serbian beat Humbert twice in 2019 in straight sets in Atlanta and Antalya. Humbert will take plenty of confidence from last week’s encounter as he was able to win his first ever set against Kecmanovic.
Tommy Paul (USA) v. Frances Tiafoe (USA) – not before 2:30 p.m.
The second singles match of the day will be the first of two all American meetings on Thursday at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com. 22-year-old Boca-Raton resident Tommy Paul will face off against fellow 22-year-old and Florida resident Frances Tiafoe. Paul comes into this match in career best form winning five matches at the Adelaide International in January as he made his first ever ATP Tour semi-final. He followed that result with a run to the Australian Open third round, in which he recorded his first ever grand slam match win and his first ever five set win beating Grigor Dimitrov in the second round. Tiafoe, on the other hand, has watched his ranking steadily drop from No. 29 in February last year to No. 84 today. Tiafoe had lost all three of his ATP tour matches coming into this week but will be happy he got the monkey off his back with a first round win over Emilio Gomez. This match will be the first between the two on the ATP Tour and presents a fantastic opportunity for them both as they look to get inside the world’s top 50.
[WC] Jack Sock (USA) vs Steve Johnson (USA) – not before 6 p.m.
Headlining the night session on Thursday will be American stalwarts Jack Sock and Steve Johnson. This match will certainly be a roller coaster of emotions for fans at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com as both players are renowned crowd favorites. The story coming in has been all about Sock as he won his first ATP Tour main draw match in 18 – months on Tuesday night over defending Delray Champion Radu Albot. Sock was extremely emotional after the win and will need to keep his emotions in check as he takes on one of the ATP Tour’s most consummate professionals in Johnson. With nine Americans progressing to the second round here in Delray, Johnson enters the match very much under the radar. The 30-year-old former NCAA champion has made a slow start on the ATP Tour getting bundled out of the Australian Open by Roger Federer and losing in the second round in New York. However, he has tallied 10 wins on the ATP Challenger Tour winning the title in Bendigo, making the quarterfinals in Canberra, and semi-finals at Newport Beach. Sock leads the head to head 4-2, but the pair haven’t played since 2017 where Steven Johnson was victorious on the clay in Houston. Tonight’s match is sure to be entertaining and will likely come down to how Sock handles the occasion and his emotions.
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (GER) vs Milos Raonic (CAN) 
Thursday’s nightcap at the Delray Beach Open is the only singles match not to feature an American, however it does feature the tournament’s highest remaining seed in Milos Raonic . Raonic will take on German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe in the pair’s first ever meeting on the ATP Tour. Both players entered 2020 under similar circumstances having struggled in 2019 with injuries. Stebe has battled injuries his entire career but has managed to string some matches together in 2020. He won three matches at the ATP challenger in Noumea, Caledonia, reaching the quarterfinals there. He also beat big serving Ivo Karlovic in the first round of the ATP 250 in Pune. Despite Stebe’s increased tournament play in 2020, Raonic will enter the match as the heavy favorite, considering the pair’s time on court and Raonic’s form in his opening match.