Fixture: Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Diego Schwartzman
Date: 24 October 2020
Tournament: Bett1Hulks Championship 2020
Venue: Cologne, Germany
Category: ATP 250
Surface: Indoor hardcourt
Prize money: €325,610
Match timing: Approx. 9 pm CEST, 12.30 am IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Diego Schwartzman preview
Canadian prodigy Felix Auger-Aliassime has been in good form in the German city of Cologne over the past two weeks.
Auger-Aliassime had a phenomenal tournament in Cologne 1 last week, where he made it to his third final of the year. The 20-year-old defeated the second seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the semifinal, before facing Alexander Zverev for the trophy.
While Auger-Aliassime lost that final in straight sets, he's now just one step away from having another crack at a trophy in Cologne.
After getting a bye in the first round this week, Auger-Aliassime took on Belarusia's Egor Gerasimov in the second. The Canadian went down by a set in that match, but fought back to win 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(4).
He was in great touch against Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka in the quarterfinal, flying to a 6-3, 6-4 win. The youngster has actually been in good form on hardcourts all year, having made it to the final at Rotterdam, Marseille and Cologne. He will be keen to go one step further this time around, and lift his first ever ATP trophy.
But despite Auger-Aliassime's excellent recent play, Diego Schwartzman, the second seed at Cologne 2, will be a slight favorite in the semifinal.
The World No. 9 came into the tournament on the back of some solid results in his last few tournaments. Schwartzman made it to the quarterfinal at Kitzbuhel, the final in Rome and the semifinal at Roland Garros, even beating Rafael Nadal along the way.
The 28-year-old started well in Cologne this week, defeating Germany's Oscar Otte 6-3, 6-2 in his opening match. He lost the first set to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the quarterfinal, but came back strongly to win 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-1.
While he considers clay to be his best surface, Schwartzman has also made four finals on hardcourts in his career. He even won a title on the surface at the Los Cabos Open last year.
Despite making it deep in many tournaments this year, Schwartzman has been unable to win a title so far in 2020. He will be keen to change that in Cologne this week.
Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Diego Schwartzman head-to-head
Felix Auger-Aliassime and Diego Schwartman have not met on tour so far. Their head-to-head is currently tied at -0.
Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Diego Schwartzman prediction
Felix Auger-Aliassime has an excellent serve, a fiery forehand and some impeccable movement on the court. However, from what we've seen in his nascent career so far, the 20-year-old puts a lot of pressure on himself in big games.
The Canadian is a talented player who can be very dangerous on his day, but he struggles to bring his best to the table when the stakes are high.
Auger-Aliassime has made it to six ATP finals in his career so far, without taking a set in any of them. He also capitulated against Dominic Thiem in the US Open Round of 16 earlier this year.
The semifinal on Saturday might also be a difficult match for Auger-Aliassime to win, especially given the experience that Diego Schwartzman brings to the table.
While Auger-Aliassime tends to make a bunch of unforced errors under pressure, Schwartzman is known for his clean and pacy groundstrokes. He also has a tremendous return of serve, and can turn defence into attack in the blink of an eye.
If there is one weakness in Schwartzman's game, it is his serve. The Argentine won just 29% of his second-serve points against Davidovich Fokina, and he'd want to improve on that against Auger-Aliassime.
The Canadian youngster has been on the verge of a breakthrough for a while now, and he seemingly needs some help from his opponents to get over the line. Schwartzman's shaky serve might be just the thing that Auger-Aliassime can use to his advantage.
Prediction: Felix Auger-Aliassime to win in three sets.Published 24 Oct 2020, 09:20 IST