TennisSection previews the 2021 Andalucia Open as Feliciano Lopez (6) meets Taro Daniel in the First Round on Tuesday April 6th, 2021.
The clay court season is upon us and we have an interesting First Round match in store here at the 2021 Andalucia Open. Feliciano Lopez of Spain will face Japanese Taro Daniel in what is sure to be a close match. Both players have not been at their best in recent times and will be hoping to get their 2021 seasons on track here in Marbella. Will it be the veteran Lopez getting the win at home and advancing to the Round of 16? Or will Daniel spoil the party for local fans with a victory?
Feliciano Lopez has had a long and very successful career. Now aged 39, he is still a dangerous player on the ATP Tour and will be hoping to have a strong 2021 season as he enters the twilight of his career. He has traditionally had more success on hard courts, but will be eager to put in a good performance here at the 2021 Andalucia Open. Still possessing one of the best serves on tour, and a dangerous serve and volley game, he has had moderate success on the ATP Tour in recent times, with some big wins sprinkled in. The Spanish favorite has a tough draw here against Taro Daniel, and will have to be at his best here to advance. His game is heavily reliant on his serve which is nullified on clay, and while it will be difficult, he should be rested and ready for the challenge.
Taro Daniel of Japan is currently ranked #117 but has been as high as #64 a few years ago. Now spending most of his time on the Challenger Tour, he will be eager to put in a strong performance here to build his ranking back into the top 100. Still only 28 years of age, he has a very solid baseline game that is well suited to clay courts. He is also acclimatized to these conditions, as he competed in the Marbella Challenger last week, reaching the Quarter-Finals where he lost a tight match to Jaume Munar. Despite his opponent Feliciano Lopez having the higher ranking, Daniel enters this match as the favorite due to his game being more suitable for the surface here at the 2021 Andalucia Open.
The two players have faced each other once before in their careers, with Feliciano Lopez leading the head to head by 1-0. As mentioned earlier, Lopez has the higher ranking than Taro Daniel, by almost 60 spots. Despite this, I still see the Japanese player winning this match relatively comfortably. If this was a hard court it would likely be a different story but Lopez’s serve is not nearly as effective on clay and I think he will struggle to keep up from the baseline. Like Lopez, Taro Daniel is not the player he once was, but he has age on his side, plus he has some clay court matches under his belt, something that his opponent does not. Taro Daniel should get the win here at the 2021 Andalucia Open, perhaps even in straight sets and will advance to the Round of 16 here in Marbella.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Taro Daniel to win