Fixture: Tommy Paul vs Feliciano Lopez
Date: 19 October 2020
Tournament: ATP European Open
Round: 1st Round (Round of 32)
Venue: Antwerp, Belgium
Category: ATP 250
Surface: Indoor hardcourt
Prize money: €394,800
Match timing: Not before 3 pm CEST, 6.30 pm IST
Live telecast: United States - Tennis Channel
Tommy Paul vs Feliciano Lopez preview
Tommy Paul started the season ranked No. 90 in the world. But after reaching the semifinals of the ATP Adelaide event as a qualifier, the third round of the Australian Open and the quarterfinals of the Acapulco event, the 23-year-old has been hovering between No. 57 (his personal best) and No. 59.
His first-round opponent in Antwerp, Feliciano Lopez, turned pro way back in 1997. Lopez peaked at No. 12 in the rankings, in 2015 - which incidentally is the same year that Paul turned pro.
The 39-year-old is still ranked a respectable No. 60 in the world. He has been a constant fixture in the top 100 since breaking into it in July 2002, except for a brief two-month period last year.
Lopez has been a singles quarterfinalist at Wimbledon and the US Open, but he has excelled more in doubles in recent years. The Spaniard won the French Open men's doubles title in 2016 and reached the US Open men's doubles final in 2017.
Tommy Paul vs Feliciano Lopez head-to-head
This will be the first meeting between Tommy Paul and Feliciano Lopez, and so their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Tommy Paul vs Feliciano Lopez prediction
Tommy Paul had an underwhelming run of results immediately after the resumption of the tour, exiting in the first round of the Cincinnati Masters and the US Open and getting ousted in the qualifying rounds of the Italian Open. But he has recovered a little since, reaching the second round of the German Open in Hamburg as well as the French Open and Sardinia events.
As the calendar shifts to indoor hardcourt events, Paul will need to re-adjust his game quickly if he hopes to get past the experienced Feliciano Lopez.
The Spaniard comes into the tournament with a 2-4 record since the resumption of tennis this season. He reached the quarterfinals at Kitzbuhel, but could not get past the first round in the three other tournaments he played.
Lopez will be looking to attack from the get go, coming to the net at every opportunity against his much younger opponent. But that might not be enough given how comfortable Paul is at counterpunching from the back of the court.
Prediction: Tommy Paul to win in three sets.Published 18 Oct 2020, 17:53 IST