TennisSection previews the 2021 Atlanta Open as Milos Raonic (1) meets Brandon Nakashima in the Round of 16 on Wednesday July 28th, 2021.
Top seeded Canadian Milos Raonic makes his belated return to the ATP Tour at the 2021 Atlanta Open after a lengthy injury layoff. A bit of rust is expected since he has not featured in a match since March at the Miami Open, but a highly experienced veteran like him should be able to recapture his best fairly quickly. He has a very tough assignment in his first match back, in the form of the young American talent Brandon Nakashima who just reached his first ATP Final last week. Can Nakashima continue his giant-killing ways with the upset here?
Milos Raonic is the number one seed here at the 2021 Atlanta Open and is currently ranked #22 in the world. Once ranked as high as #3 on the ATP Tour, the Canadian has endured a tough past few years with various injuries and loss of form. He was just beginning to get back to his best when his latest injury hit earlier in the year, and he had to take a four month break with a calf injury. When he is fully fit he is one of the toughest players in the world to defeat on hard courts like these, with his fearsome serve and big forehand being a very strong one-two punch. He may be in for a tough time here against the in-form Brandon Nakashima being a difficult opponent, plus the fact that he will undoubtedly be rusty and a touch unfit after those months off.
Brandon Nakashima is unseeded here at the 2021 Atlanta Open, and is currently ranked a career-high #115 on the ATP Tour. The young American has just made his breakthrough on the Tour by reaching the Final of the Los Cabos Open where he fell to Cameron Norrie. The youngster played some brilliant tennis, defeating John Isner and Sam Querrey en route to the Final and his confidence will be at an all time high. Armed with some serious weapons in his serve and groundstrokes, it is seemingly only a matter of time before he breaks through even more, and big things are expected of him in the future. He is up against it here against former top 5 player Milos Raonic, but knows that he has a chance due to the Canadian’s long injury layoff.
This will be the first meeting between the two players on the ATP Tour, and despite the huge gulf between their rankings I am expecting a very close and intense battle. Milos Raonic would normally be the big favorite here, but his fitness levels and form are unknown at this point as he has just returned from injury, and Brandon Nakashima is in career-best form. After considering everything, I am going to back the Canadian to get the job done here. A lot of rust is to be expected, but he is very experienced and his serve will allow him to work his way into the match. Brandon Nakashima played well last week but seemed to be fatigued as he struggled to a three set win in the First Round, and I don’t think that he has what it takes to get the win here at the moment. Milos Raonic will win a close one here, advancing to the Quarter-Finals here at the 2021 Atlanta Open.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Milos Raonic to win
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