TennisSection previews the 2021 French Open as Rafael Nadal (3) meets Alexei Popyrin in the Round of 128 on Tuesday, June 1st 2021.
Will Alexei Popyrin actually get anything going against Rafael Nadal in their second encounter on clay this year? Will Rafael Nadal continue to dominate on clay as he looks to save energy for the later rounds where he could meet the likes of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer? They met recently so they will know what to expect and we will have an entertaining encounter here. Who will make their way to the Round of 64 of Roland Garros?
Alexei Popyrin has had a great 2021 season on the ATP Tour, going 15-8 in his Win/Loss count, winning his first title at the Singapore Open, and getting himself known in some big tournaments. Alexei Popyrin is entering the 2021 French Open with a lot of promise, however, he has been handed the worst start to the draw there could possibly be here at Roland Garros. Alexei Popyrin will have to ensure he is at his absolute best, and even if he is, he will struggle to get more than 3 games per set under his belt against the one and only King of Clay, Rafael Nadal.
Rafael Nadal has improved drastically from the start of the clay court season this year in Monte-Carlo where he was not playing well, to now coming off his 10th title win at the Rome Masters a couple weeks ago. Rafael Nadal is the king of the courts here at the 2021 French Open, having won 100 matches on the clay courts of Roland Garros, and has only lost 2 matches in his career here. Rafael Nadal will know that he is going to have a very tough draw here as he is on the same side of the draw as Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic already, and he will ensure he does not waste time in the early rounds against the likes of Alexei Popyrin to ensure he saves his energy for the important matches and give himself the best chance of claiming his 14th Roland Garros title.
Rafael Nadal and Alexei Popyrin have met 1 time before, with Rafael Nadal leading the head to head 1-0. They met just under a month ago at the Madrid Masters where Nadal won in straight sets 6-3/6-3. Rafael Nadal will remember that match, and he will know how to improve on his already dominant performance to get this match done in straight sets here at the 2021 French Open. Popyrin would be able to push Nadal somewhat perhaps on indoor hard courts, maybe even getting him to a tiebreak, but on the courts of Roland Garros, there is only ever going to be 1 outcome and that is a straight sets Rafael Nadal win.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Rafael Nadal in 3 Sets.