Date: 13 January 2021
Tournament: Australian Open 2021 qualifiers
Round: Third round
Venue: Doha, Qatar
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Match timing: Approx. 12 pm local time, 2.30 pm IST
Carlos Alcaraz vs Hugo Dellien preview
Hugo Dellien may not be a huge name in the tennis world, but he's a hero back home in Bolivia.
A former World No. 2 junior, Dellien is the highest-ranked Bolivian since Mario Martinez peaked at No. 67 in 1983. He is also the first Bolivian to win an ATP Tour or Grand Slam match since Martinez at the 1984 French Open.
Ranked No. 111 in the world currently, Dellien has been as high as No. 72 - a mark he achieved last January.
The 27-year-old is a claycourt specialist and has earned his way up the ranks. He owns an 83-60 ATP Challenger Tour record, with all 83 wins coming on cla. Moreover, he has won five Challenger titles since April 2018.
The Bolivian has been in good form this week in Doha, starting with a win over Alejandro Tabilo for the loss of just one game. He then went on to score a 6-4, 7-6 win over Aussie Andrew Harris in the second round.
Carlos Alcaraz meanwhile is widely considered to be a young player to watch out for. But while expectations from his career are high, the 17-year-old hasn't had to deal with any specific pressure of winning titles or reaching a particular round.
This week's qualifying event at the Australian Open is somewhat different in that regard. It's not uncommon for rising stars to lose in Slam qualifiers in their early years. However, anything short of a main draw appearance in Melbourne will likely be considered a bit of a letdown for the Spaniard and the tennis community at large.
So far, Carlos Alcaraz has dealt with those expectations pretty well. The teenager defeated Filip Horansky 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 in the first round, showing great poise and maturity by not letting the loss of four set points in the first set deter him.
In the second round, Alcaraz defeated 26-year-old Russian Evgeny Karlovskiy in two tough tie-breaks.
Carlos Alcaraz vs Hugo Dellien head-to-head
Hugo Dellien and Carlos Alcaraz have never met on the ATP tour or at any other level on the professional circuit. Their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Carlos Alcaraz vs Hugo Dellien prediction
A seasoned competitor like Hugo Dellien will be a real challenge for Carlos Alcaraz given the current conditions and the expectations from him.
Dellien, who lost in the first round of the Australian Open to Rafael Nadal last year, is a solid player who can battle from the baseline and run his opponent ragged. Alcaraz will therefore need to play his aggressive game and avoid getting into a battle of attrition against the experienced Bolivian.
In either case, this one is likely to be a tough battle.
Prediction: Hugo Dellien to win in three sets.Published 12 Jan 2021, 22:11 IST