Two of the most scintillating baseline arsenals in the men's game will go up against each other on Day 1 of the 2020 Western & Southern Open, as World No. 20 Felix Auger-Aliassime takes on Nikoloz Basilashvili in a mouth-watering first round clash.
Both players are coming in with a fair bit of match practice under their belt. Rising star Felix Auger-Aliassime participated in the Ultimate Tennis Showdown last month, while his Georgian opponent played the International Premier League in Germany earlier.
The young Canadian has had a great 2020 tour campaign so far, and will be looking to build on his success from the first two months of the year. Auger-Aliassime reached the final at the 2020 Rotterdam Open (l. to Gael Monfils), and followed that with another runner-up finish at Marseille Open (l. to Stefanos Tsitsipas).
The talented youngster, who is yet to win a title, will be one of the players to look out for during the US Open season. But first he would have to get the better of Nikoloz Basilashvili, who last enjoyed a rich vein of form around a year ago when he won the 2019 Hamburg event.
Since then the Georgian has been in a bit of a slump, having lost 10 of his last 14 competitive matches. But it goes without saying that when Auger-Aliassime and Basilashvili meet in the first round of 2020 W&S Open, the fans will be in for some explosive hitting from both ends of the court.
Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Nikoloz Basilashvili head-to-head
The head-to-head currently stands at 2-0 in Felix Auger-Aliassime's favor.
The pair first met last year at the 2019 Miami Masters, which proved to be Auger-Aliassime's breakout tournament. The then 18-year-old, who had to play qualifying to get into the main draw, showed composure way beyond his years as he beat Basilashvili as well as Next Gen star Borna Coric to make the semifinals of the tournament.
The second time Auger-Aliassime and Basilashvili played was another high-stakes match, in the semifinals of the 2020 Lyon Open. The Canadian had already impressed the fans with his first ATP final appearance at the 2020 Rio Open, and he went on to clinch a solid victory against the Georgian in three sets.
Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Nikoloz Basilashvili prediction
Nikoloz Basilashvili wouldn't be rejoicing at being pitted in a first-round match with the fast rising star at the 2020 Western & Southern Open. To make matters worse, the winner of the match is slated to meet World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the Round of 16.
Auger-Aliassime and Basilashvili are very close to each other in the rankings, with the Georgian coming in as the World No. 27 and the Canadian being just inside the top 20. That said, Auger-Aliassime's game might prove to be too watertight for his older opponent, who has struggled to be consistent in recent times.
Prediction: Felix Auger-Aliassime to win in two tight sets.
Tournament: Western & Southern Open 2020
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York, USA
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $4,674,780
Live telecast: India - Sony Ten 2 | USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN
Match timing: 11 am EDT, 8 pm ISTPublished 22 Aug 2020, 10:40 IST