TennisSection previews the 2022 Qatar Open as Jiri Vesely takes on Arthur Rinderknech in the first round on Tuesday, February 15th, 2022.
On paper, Jiri Vesely is in for a tough afternoon at the Qatar Open when he plays Arthur Rinderknech. But given the Frenchman’s questionable fitness record due to a wrist injury he picked up at the Australian Open, the Czech might fancy his chances to spring an upset.
Jiri Vesely retired from his quarterfinal at the Bangalore Challenger due to a stomach issue related to food poisoning. The Czech lefty trailed Enzo Couacaud by a set before calling it quits. Just a round earlier, Vesely played a draining three-setter against Prajnesh Gunneswaran and was heavily fatigued against Couacaud. Vesely has since flown to Doha which is likely to mean that he has recovered and will play a Frenchman in his first-round match at the Qatar Open in Arthur Rinderknech.
Arthur Rinderknech enjoyed a breakthrough year on the ATP Tour in 2021, in which he won 18 matches – a career-best for the 26-year-old. In 2022, he took it up a notch by reaching his first ATP final, losing narrowly to Thanasi Kokkinakis in Adelaide. Things have since gone awry for Rinderknech, having been sidelined from action since beating Alexei Popyrin in the first round of the Australian Open. He withdrew from his scheduled second-round match against Dan Evans due to a wrist injury. The fact that he did not partake at his home tournament in Montpellier at the start of the month and most recently in Rotterdam, clearly shows the injury was a lot more serious than initially thought. The word coming out from Rinderknech’s camp is that he has made full recovery to compete at the Qatar Open.
Jiri Vesely and Arthur Rinderknech have not played each other on the ATP Tour. Tuesday’s match at the Qatar Open will be their first official meeting. Both players enter this tournament with a cloud of uncertainty regarding their fitness. Vesely was troubled by a stomach issue in India this past week, while Rinderkench hasn’t struck a ball since the Australian Open first round. Whoever wanders off their game will lose the match, and right now taking Vesely to win seems like the only reasonable choice.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Jiri Vesely to win.
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