Paris Masters 2021: Alexei Popyrin vs. James Duckworth Tennis Pick and Prediction
Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Paris Masters 2021: Alexei Popyrin vs. James Duckworth Tennis Pick and Prediction

TennisSection previews the 2021 Paris Masters as James Duckworth takes on Alexei Popyrin in the Round of 16 on Thursday, November 4th, 2021.

Will James Duckworth win again and get closer to a Top 50 debut? Will Alexei Popyrin get another stroke of luck? This should be a highly-competitive Round of 16 match at the Paris Masters that features an all-Australian affair.

This is undoubtedly James Duckworth’s career-best season on the ATP Tour. After years of injury torture and nearly conceding defeat to his debilitating fitness issues, Duckworth is maximizing his full potential. The 29-year-old has spent most of his decade-long career on the second tier of men’s tennis painstakingly looking to rise in the rankings. With 12 titles to his name on the ATP Challenger Tour, Duckworth has seen his ranking peak at No. 51 this season. He notched his third Top 20 win of the year with a three-set win over Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round of the Paris Masters. He followed it up with a topsy-turvy win over the talented but off color Lorenzo Musetti in the second round. He has set up an all-Aussie Round of 16 clash against Alexei Popyrin.

Alexei Popyrin can count himself lucky, not just once, but twice. First up, he lost in the final round of qualifying to Tommy Paul. But he was bumped up into the main draw as a lucky loser, drawing an out-of-form Alex De Minaur. He scaled that hurdle, dropping a mere three games. And in his second-round match against the No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, Popyrin was not expected to give the Greek the runaround. That was exactly how things panned out as he came out firing out of the blocks and taking a cushion in the first set when he led 4-2. However, the Greek was forced to retire due to an arm injury putting his Nitto ATP Final participation in jeopardy. Popyrin, though, moves on and will play James Duckworth.

Thursday’s match at the 2021 Paris Masters will be the first career meeting between James Duckworth and compatriot Alexei Popyrin. Duckworth is not part of this new crop of Australian young players who are destined to achieve an enormous amount of success in future. But since he managed to put to bed his injury days, it almost feels like he is having a second tennis career. The 29-year-old has turned a corner this year, playing some of the best tennis of his life. Duckworth’s game is a remedy for sore eyes. He possesses a unique style of varied serving, a newfound aggression and some silky hands that he uses to slice his backhand. Popyrin has his own strengths too, with his serve coming at the forefront of things. But on the basis of how each has played this year, I am backing the higher-ranked Aussie to clinch a three-set victory.

Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: James Duckworth to win in 3 sets.

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