Fixture: (4) Alex de Minaur vs Malek Jaziri
Tournament: Antalya Open 2021
Round: Round of 32 (First round)
Venue: Antalya, Turkey
Category: ATP 250
Surface: Outdoor Hardcourt
Prize money: €300,000
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Alex de Minaur vs Malek Jaziri preview
Australian No. 1 Alex de Minaur kicks off his season at the ATP 250 event in Antalya, where he faces Tunisia's Malek Jaziri in the first round.
De Minaur will look to begin his 2021 campaign much like he did last year, when he reached the semifinals of the ATP Cup with home country Australia. The World No. 23 maintained a 13-10 win-loss record for the rest of the season, with his most memorable result being a quarterfinal appearance at the US Open.
The Australian defeated the likes of Vasek Pospisil and Karen Khachanov at Flushing Meadows, before bowing out in straight sets to Dominic Thiem. De Minaur then continued his good hardcourt form in Antwerp, where he reached his one and only final of the year (losing out to Ugo Humbert).
Meanwhile World No. 259 Malek Jaziri was a mainstay on the ITF and Challenger tours in 2020. His last ATP tour appearance came in a first round defeat to Novak Djokovic at Dubai, right before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
Alex de Minaur vs Malek Jaziri head-to-head
The first round tie in Antalya is the first meeting between Alex de Minaur and Malek Jaziri on tour, so their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Alex de Minaur vs Malek Jaziri prediction
Given their recent history on tour and their difference in rankings, Alex de Minaur comes into the match against Malek Jaziri as the overwhelming favorite. The 21-year-old will be looking to get his season off to a flyer before travelling to his home country for the Australian Open tune-up events.
With a relatively straightforward draw marred by many last-minute cancellations, De Minaur might possibly be the favorite for the Antalya trophy. And he will look to set up his title run with a no-nonsense performance against Jaziri.
The Australian's counterpunching style of tennis has proven to be very effective on hardcourt, with all three of his tour level titles coming on the surface.
To cause an upset, Jaziri will have to take advantage of any rustiness in De Minaur's game at the start of the match. The Tunisian will look to be aggressive from the get-go, and attempt to exploit his opponent's lack of firepower from the baseline.
But if De Minaur is at his usual hardcourt level, this match may prove to be an uphill task for Jaziri.
Prediction: Alex de Minaur to win in straight sets.Published 06 Jan 2021, 18:02 IST