TennisSection previews the 2021 Qatar Open as Taylor Fritz meets Lorenzo Sonego in the First Round on Monday March 8th, 2021.
This is a very interesting matchup between two top 35 players who are yet to truly get it going in 2021. They both play a fairly similar style and have almost identical rankings so it is sure to be a close and exciting encounter. Will it be the young American Taylor Fritz or the fast-rising Italian Lorenzo Sonego getting the win and advancing to the Second Round here at the Qatar Open?
Taylor Fritz is currently ranked number 33 in the world but has recently been a top 25 player. A former junior world number one, he has been touted for big things from a young age and while he has had a solid career, he has failed to live up to those lofty expectations. Time is on his side however and at just 23 years of age he has displayed maturity beyond his years and has the potential to climb the rankings. His 2021 season has gotten off to a relatively slow start, boasting a 3-2 record in the two tournaments that he has played. He notably reached the Third Round at the 2021 Australian Open where he was unlucky to have lost to Novak Djokovic after being in a strong position after his opponents’ injury. The young American is heavily reliant on his huge serve and forehand and will be looking to dominate Lorenzo Sonego here at the Qatar Open with those weapons from the baseline.
Lorenzo Sonego is ranked #35 in the world at the moment and is coming off a career-best year in 2020 where he truly announced himself on the world scene. He shocked the tennis world with a 6-2, 6-1 demolition of world number one Novak Djokovic and will be aiming to build on that with another strong season here. However, he is off to a rough start in 2021, with only a 3-4 record to his name after four tournaments including two First Round losses in Rotterdam and Adelaide. Unlike Taylor Fritz he has a very well rounded and precise game, not overly reliant on power. The Italian is very strong from the baseline and has a major weapon in his transition game which he executes very well. After such a strong year in 2020 his confidence will surely have taken a hit by his slow start this year and he will be aiming to rebound from that and get his 2021 season back on track with a good showing here at the 2021 Qatar Open.
The two players have played each other twice over the course of their careers, with the head to head record standing at 1-1. This is an extremely difficult match to call, since both players have equally gotten off to an inconsistent start this year and their rankings are literally 2 spots apart. The courts here at the 2021 Qatar Open are reportedly quite fast, something that may be in the American’s favor. However, Lorenzo Sonego has proven that he is very versatile and can adapt well to all surfaces. While Taylor Fritz has the edge in power, Sonego is more consistent and has a lot more variation in his game which will be key here.
I expect this to be a very close match and the two players likely will not be separated by much. Three sets is a very real possibility but in the end I see Lorenzo Sonego getting the win and advancing to the Round of 16 here at the Qatar Open. Once he gets accustomed to the courts he should be able to figure the American out and grind out a hard-fought win.
Free Tennis Preview and Prediction: Lorenzo Sonego to win