TennisSection previews the 2021 Swedish Open as Richard Gasquet (5) meets Marco Cecchinato in the First Round on Monday July 12th, 2021.
An intriguing First Round match is expected here at the 2021 Swedish Open as veterans Richard Gasquet and Marco Cecchinato collide for a spot in the Round of 16. Both men have seen their careers go on a downward trend over the past few seasons and will be hoping for a strong showing here in Bastad to get things back on track. Who will get the win and advance to the Round of 16?
Richard Gasquet is currently ranked #56 on the ATP Tour and is the fifth seed here at the 2021 Swedish Open. The Frenchman is a former top 10 player, who has seen his ranking slowly decline over the past few seasons. Despite his inconsistent form, Gasquet is still very capable of quality tennis from time to time and is an extremely difficult opponent, especially in these ATP-250 events. He has been having a relatively quiet 2021 season by his standards, and is yet to reach a Semi-Final this year. Gasquet will be hoping to make a run here in Bastad, but was drawn against a very tough opponent in Marco Cecchinato of Italy. While Gasquet is the considered the favorite here, this match is fairly even on a clay court and he will have to be at his best to get the win here.
Marco Cecchinato is unseeded here at the 2021 Swedish Open, and is ranked #86 on the ATP Tour. The Italian had very poor 2019-2020 seasons where he saw his ranking slide outside the top 100, but has quietly been having a solid season this year, and his ranking is creeping up. While his play and performance are still a far cry from that of a few years ago where he broke into the top 20, he is still a very strong opponent, especially on clay. His aggressive baseline game is very effective on this surface, and his backhand especially is a huge weapon. While he is considered the underdog here against Richard Gasquet, he will like his chances due to the surface and will be very confident here. He is a much better mover on clay than Gasquet, and if his defense is up to par he has a good shot of causing the minor upset here.
This will be the second meeting between the two players on the ATP Tour, with Richard Gasquet leading the head to head 1-0. If this was on any other surface other than clay I would be predicting a straightforward win for the Frenchman, however on clay it is not that easy. I expect a very close match, with swings going either way. Both men are highly experienced and have tons of firepower, and there is little to separate them here. All things considered, I am going with Marco Cecchinato to win here. He was once an elite clay court player, and is still very comfortable on the surface. Richard Gasquet is no slouch on clay, but his upside is stifled on the slower courts, and he has not displayed the consistency that once made him a top 10 player. It very likely will go to three sets, but give me the Italian to win here, advancing to the Second Round here at the 2021 Swedish Open in Bastad.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Marco Cecchinato to win
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