Date: 18 August 2021
Tournament: 2021 Western & Southern Open
Round: Second round (Round of 32)
Venue: Cincinnati, Ohio
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $3,028,140
Match timing: Approx. 3 pm local time, 7 pm GMT, 12.30 am IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video
Alexander Zverev vs Lloyd Harris preview
Returning to his least successful Masters 1000 event, Alexander Zverev takes on Lloyd Harris in the second round of the 2021 Western & Southern Open on Tuesday. Zverev received a bye in the first round while Harris beat Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3, 6-4 on Monday.
Zverev hasn't won a single main-draw match in Cincinnati despite having played there in six different editions. The German has lost to Borna Coric, Yuichi Sugita, Frances Tiafoe, Robin Haase, Miomir Kecmanovic and Andy Murray in his six Cincinnati appearances.
This time, however, Zverev is entering the fray as the reigning Olympic champion. The 24-year-old would be buoyed by his showing in Tokyo, where he stunned the favorite Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.
Since his last defeat to Andy Murray at Cincinnati, Zverev has also improved his game quite a bit. His serve is a more reliable weapon now, while his volleys are a little sharper than before.
Zverev is also taking bigger cuts on the forehand, which is helping him strike more winners off that wing. And at the Tokyo Olympics, the German showed that his mental strength has also improved by leaps and bounds.
Zverev trailed Djokovic by a set and a break in the semifinals but clawed back with some ferocious ball-striking and serving.
That said, it remains to be seen if the 2020 US Open runner-up can translate his Olympic form to Cincinnati - especially since he has been presented with a very tricky opener in the form of Lloyd Harris.
Harris has staged some remarkable performances recently. He beat Rafael Nadal at the Citi Open and also gave a very tough fight to eventual runner-up Reilly Opelka at the Toronto Masters.
The South African's hardcourt form, in fact, has been quite impressive all year. He has managed to register wins over the likes of Stan Wawrinka, Dominic Thiem, Kei Nishikori, Denis Shapovalov on the surface, in addition to Nadal.
Alexander Zverev vs Lloyd Harris head-to-head
Alexander Zverev leads Lloyd Harris by a margin of 1-0 in the head-to-head. The two squared off in Cologne last year, with the German winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.
Alexander Zverev vs Lloyd Harris prediction
Even though Alexander Zverev's record in Cincinnati is nothing short of disastrous, he enters this match as the favorite given his showing at the Olympics.
Lloyd Harris will look to attack the German's second serve, and he could find success with that strategy if his forehand is on point. More importantly though, Harris needs to position himself well while returning the first serve, as Zverev's pace and accuracy can leave any opponent helpless.
Harris does have more match practice than Zverev, and if he gets enough balls back in play he could certainly plant a seed of doubt in the mind of the World No. 5. But Zverev has more power than his opponent, especially off the serve and backhand; if those two weapons are firing then it will be difficult for the South African to stop him.
Prediction: Alexander Zverev to win in three sets.