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Auckland Open 2020: Benoit Paire vs Hubert Hurkacz, match preview and prediction

ANALYST
Preview
Published Jan 16, 2020
Jan 16, 2020 IST

Benoit Paire has had to battle hard in his matches this week.
Benoit Paire has had to battle hard in his matches this week.

The fifth and sixth seeds in the draw - Benoit Paire and Hubert Hurkacz respectively - have set up a mouth-watering last-four clash at the 2020 ASB Classic after staging comeback wins in their respective quarterfinal matches.

While Paire came back from a set down to dismiss John Millman late evening, Hurkacz had to steady the ship after a tough second set tiebreaker that he lost 13-11 in dramatic fashion, to Spain's Feliciano Lopez.

Paire and Hurkacz know each other well despite having played only once previously on tour, as they partnered for doubles events through most of 2019. As for the pair's only singles meeting, Hurkacz came out on top in three sets to win the 2019 Winston Salem tournament, his first crown on the senior ATP tour.

Hubert Hurkacz beat Paire in the 2019 Winston Salem final to win his first ATP title
Hubert Hurkacz beat Paire in the 2019 Winston Salem final to win his first ATP title

Paire will be looking to avenge that loss in Friday's semifinal, but if current form is any indication, he will have to be at his very best to conquer Hurkacz.

Both men have delivered equally impressive performances on serve throughout the week, winning almost 75 percent of the points behind their first serve in the last couple of matches.

It will, therefore, come down to the baseline exchanges, and which of the two men manages to control the proceedings from the back court.

Paire will have to be aggressive from the baseline against a big-serving Hurkacz
Paire will have to be aggressive from the baseline against a big-serving Hurkacz

Some would be tempted to put their money on Paire, who is known for his explosive backhand, but Hurkacz can be equally dangerous when he is given time to set up his groundstrokes.

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If Paire can keep pushing his opponent on to the back foot during rallies, he should be able to get over the line. But for that he will need to be consistent - which he is not known for, while Hurkacz is.

Prediction: Hurkacz to win in three sets.

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