Mission accomplished for the Frenchman who will be well on his way to the quarter-finals after a victory in two sets against Roberto Marcora (6-3, 7-5). He has made a serious match, in line with his performances since last autumn, to take the match on his own and push the Italian to the fault. He could have been worried if Gulbis had brought him into a third set, but Mannarino was able to break at the best of times. As for his opponent, he came very close to a correctional sentence. After an already complicated introduction against John Patrick Smith (6-2, 3-6, 6-1), Radu Albot was even more afraid in the second round against Yannick Hanfmann. The Moldavian first saved 3 match points in the second set to come back to a set all around, before debreaking and finally winning 6-3 in the last set (6-7, 7-6, 6-3). Put in trouble by the German, Albot once again showed how much of a catchy player he was, capable of turning situations around. In indoor, Mannarino is stronger than his opponent and has the ability, especially with his variations, to really bother the Moldavian. His status as favourite is therefore logical, especially since the only confrontation between the two men last year in Sofia (indoor) had turned to the advantage of the Frenchman (6-2, 1-6, 6-3). If Mannarino manages to develop his game, he should emerge victorious in this match. The eye of Florent Serra : Adrian is a solid player on the hard, but you always have to be wary of a player like Albot, especially as he comes back from far away after saving match balls. He is a fairly fast, low on his legs and moves well, but I think he still lacks a bit of power to outsmart Mannarino. Manna's left-handed paw with his changes of rythm and his early ball catches will surely put Albot in difficulty, but he shouldn't be in a hurry, because the Moldavian isn't easy to overtake. For me, Mannarino is better than his opponent on this surface, but we will have to be careful with Albot who doesn't drop anything and who can bring him down on the longest part. This is exactly what we have seen in his previous round against Hanfmann, which allowed him to turn the match around. For me, the odds are right, since Mannarino is quite a big favourite. Is it worth betting on him? I think that from 1.50 onwards, it starts to look pretty good.  

Alexei Popyrin vs Matthew Ebden

It's a 100% Australian duel that we will witness for this quarter-final. Alexei Popyrin is surfing on his good season start to offer himself the second quarter-final of his young career on the ATP circuit after Atlanta in 2019. If we are used to see him perform during the Australian tour for the last two years, the 21 year-old young hopeful has often had difficulties to confirm his results afterwards. But at the beginning of this season, he seems to have crossed a milestone in the game even if everything is obviously not perfect as his tournament debut in Singapore showed. In his first round, he was scared by Christopher Eubanks (240th) and can thank the opportunities missed by the American (one break ball converted out of 11) that allowed him to win twice in the tie-break (7-6, 7-6). In the second round, he wasn't totally in control of his subject either against Adrian Andreev (6-1, 5-7, 6-3). We expected to see John Millman at this stage of the tournament, but the No. 2 seed fell as soon as he started against his compatriot Matthew Ebden. Author of a serious match against an uninspired and unconcerned Millman (6-4, 6-1) Ebden signed, after his victory over Bhambri in the first round, his first two victories in a row for almost 2 years and a half. From there to make him the favourite for this quarter-final? Not at all according to the bookmakers who give a big advantage to Popyrin. Their only previous meeting had taken place in Basel in 2018 and it was Popyrin who won in two sets (7-6, 6-4). Based on what we have seen since the beginning of the tournament, Ebden seems to be able to make the task difficult for his young compatriot. Popyrin favourite yes, but maybe a bit risky below 1.50

Soonwoo Kwon vs Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals of an ATP tournament, a first since October 2019. It was already in indoor in Moscow. After a complicated start to the season that saw him lose in the first round at Murray River against Jeremy Chardy and at the Australian Open against Dimitrov, the Croatian regains the taste for victory in Singapore. Against Taro Daniel, Cilic has done the job to win in two sets (7-5, 6-3) despite a first ball below his standards (only 53% of firsts). For his part, Soonwoo Kwon continues on his very good momentum in indoor. The Korean remains on seven consecutive victories on this surface after his victory over the challenger from Biella and his victories over Thai Kwiatkowski (4-6, 6-3, 6-4) and Yasutaka Uchiyama (6-3, 6-4). Worried when he entered the race, he managed his second round well, especially thanks to a great success behind his first ball (82% of points gained). This quarter-final will therefore see two very good indoor players (both over 60% wins). But if the experience is clearly on Cilic's side (8 titles won), the form is on Kwon's side as the Croatian struggles to regain his 2018 level. However, watch out for the Korean who will play his 11th match in February. Although the bookmakers see Cilic taking the upper hand, it is difficult to establish him as a big favourite for this match. Beware of the trap game.

Alexander Bublik vs Yoshihito Nishioka

After two consecutive eliminations in the second round at Great Ocean Road (against Stefano Travaglia) and at the Australian Open (against Dusan Lajovic), Alexander Bublik will try to take a second victory in a row in Singapore. The Kazakh rider managed perfectly his entry in the tournament against Altug Celikbilek (302nd), who came out of the qualifications. Behind a first ball (68% firsts and 10 aces) on a rather fast surface, he mastered his match without being worried by the young Turkish (6-2, 6-2). If his results in 2020 were rather disappointing after the recovery (10 defeats in 15 games), Bublik regained confidence during the first tournament of the season in Antalya. The Kazakh reached the final, but was unable to play it (withdrawal after two games). Still difficult to play in indoor, the Kazakh will be opposed to the seeded rider n°5 Yoshihito Nishioka, who is also at ease on hard courts. It was thought that the Japanese could be worried by the offensive play of Maxime Cressy, but it wasn't the case. Thanks to a very good percentage of firsts (79%), Nishioka didn't tremble in this match (only one break ball conceded) where the French-American played below what he had shown during the Australian tour. On this match, Bublik is given favourite by the bookmakers, but he will have to stay concentrated during the whole match and not abuse useless "trick shots" as we have seen in the first round if he wants to continue his way and try to get his first title on the circuit. On his side, Nishioka will have to seize any opportunity in return and try to get the Kazakh rider out of the match. In terms of confrontations, the two players are tied at 1-1 after two hard-fought encounters during the tournament in Shenzhen in 2018 and then Shanghai 2019. The eye of Florent Serra : Even if he could have done better in some matches, I think Bublik is playing well at the moment. I think the Kazakh is capable of bringing him into a register that Nishioka doesn't like too much. The Japanese needs to play in rhythm, to counter, to find some angle and I think that Bublik is going to hinder him at that level with his offensive play by going up to the net and attacking the seconds. It is a real opposition of style where one will try to manoeuvre from the back of the court whereas the other will take the ball early to surprise him. Based on what I have seen since the beginning of the year, I have the feeling that Bublik has the weapons to pass the obstacle Nishioka. On the other hand, he shouldn't get frustrated if the Japanese rider manages to pull some passes at him, make him play and push him to the foul. So I would put the Kazakh favourite on this match. I don't think Nishioka's odds are high enough to try a move, I'll stay with Bublik who still has some interesting odds.  

Editor's note

⭐️⭐️⭐️--- ⭐️⭐️--- ⭐️ Victoire Bublik / Victoire Popyrin / Victoire Mannarino

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