TennisSection previews the 2022 Australian Open as Ugo Humbert takes on Richard Gasquet in the first round on Tuesday, January 18th, 2022.
Will Ugo Humbert avoid crashing out early at the Australian Open when he faces fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet? Gasquet is on the twilight of his career, but can he wind back the clock for one more vintage display?
Ugo Humbert is a player who can be difficult to predict at times. One moment he is beating some of the best competition in the world, but he is also very prone to lose to low caliber opponents. His 2021 season is case in point. He scored some big wins over Top 10 players like Rublev and Alexander Zverev, but was uninspiring at Grand Slam level. He lost to Nick Kyrgios twice (Australian Open and Wimbledon), intertwined with defeats to Ricardas Berankis and Peter Gojowczyk at the French Open and US Open respectively. The left-handed Frenchman finished the season on a five-match losing streak. Humbert made a lightning start in 2022, posting a major upset at the ATP Cup when he beat Daniil Medvedev, but failed to impress in his next two rubbers.
Richard Gasquet, meanwhile, returns to the Australian Open for the first time since 2018. He missed the 2019 edition due to hernia surgery, and was forced to withdraw from 2020 edition due to knee injury. He has made very limited appearances in the past decade on Australian soil. This year, his participation was cast in doubt after testing positive for coronavirus and had to isolate for two weeks, missing a pair of important warm-up tournaments. He arrives in Melbourne woefully out of form. Can he conjure up an odds-defying win over Ugo Humber?
Ugo Humbert has not played Richard Gasquet, so their head-to-head stands at 0-0. Tuesday’s meeting should be a shot-making spectacle. Humbert does have a sweet left hand that can dazzle with an array of attacking shots. Gasquet, for his part, is not a stranger to the spectacular. But it should be said the experienced Frenchman is not as lethal off that elegant backhand as he was a few years ago. This being his first match of the year, Gasquet may just run out of steam against an energetic Humbert.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Ugo Humbert in straight sets.
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