TennisSection previews the 2022 Australian Open as Jan-Lennard Struff takes on Botic van de Zandschulp in the first round on Tuesday, January 18th, 2022.
Jan-Lennard Struff has an appalling record at the Australian Open down the years. Will it change when he faces the unheralded Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp? Or will the Dutchman emulate his US Open exploits Down Under? Let us break down this intriguing contest.
Jan-Lennard Struff has played the Australian Open seven times before in the main draw, but has a poor 1-6 record at the year’s first Grand Slam. He has been the recipient of some unfavorable draws in recent years such as drawing Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer early doors. But that aside, last year’s defeat to Christopher O’Connell must have been a dagger to Struff’s ambitions. It is his low-performing Grand Slam tournament, which defies logic. His game is tailor-made for quick hard courts, packed with a huge serve and ferocious forehand that can puncture most defenses. Struff will have a massive test of restoring some semblance of consistency when he faces Botic van de Zandschulp.
Botic van de Zandschulp made his presence felt at last year’s US Open when he made the quarterfinals as a qualifier. Shortly after that, he made the semifinals of an ATP tournament for the first time in St. Petersburg losing to eventual winner Marin Cilic. Van de Zandschulp had spent years painstakingly grinding it out on the ATP Challenger until he took his moment with aplomb in New York. Currently, he sits at a career-high ranking of World No. 56 as he eyes to break the top 50 at the age of 26. Will he extend Jan-Lennard Struff’s misery Down Under?
Jan-Lennard Struff will play Botic van de Zandschulp for the first time in Tuesday’s first-round match at the Australian Open. Struff has been the culprit of his downfall at times in Melbourne. And his task of turning it around will get even more treacherous now that he has drawn one of the most dangerous floaters in the men’s draw. Van de Zandschulp will test the German’s patience with a mix of flat ground strokes and backhand slices. Should Struff overdo things, this could very much be another early exit.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Botic van de Zandschulp in five sets.
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