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Delray Beach 2021: Sam Querrey vs Mackenzie McDonald preview, head-to-head & prediction

Sam Querrey at the 2020 French Open
Sam Querrey at the 2020 French Open
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 05 Jan 2021, 21:58 IST
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Match details

Fixture: (6) Sam Querrey vs. Mackenzie McDonald

Tournament: Delray Beach Open 2021

Round: Round of 32 (First round)

Venue: Delray Beach, Florida, United States

Category: ATP 250

Surface: Outdoor Hardcourt

Prize money: $349,530

Live telecast:  USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel

Sam Querrey vs Mackenzie McDonald preview

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Sam Querrey, one of the nine Americans directly into the main draw (the qualifying is still underway), is seeded No. 6 at the Delray Beach Open.

The tournament was moved from its original slot in February to the first week of the season due to the changes in the tennis calendar. That will come as a welcome change for the American men before their long journey to Australia.

A new father, Querrey will be relishing the opportunities to play at home, especially after the manner in which his 2020 season ended. The 33-year-old's escape from St. Petersburg after he, his wife and 11-month old son tested COVID positive has been well-documented and investigated.

But Querrey has pre-empted the media scrutiny at the tournament, by presenting his side of the story in a detailed interview. That is perhaps his way of putting the focus back on his tennis.

His opponent is 25-year-old countryman Mackenzie McDonald, who won the 2016 NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championships in both singles and doubles. McDonald is now ranked No. 194 in the world, but was ranked as high as No. 57 in April 2019 before injury stalled his rise.

After reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2018 and the semifinals at Delray Beach in 2019, McDonald suffered a hamstring injury at the 2019 French Open. The ensuing surgery forced him to miss the rest of the season, and he is now trying to work his way back up the ranks.

Sam Querrey vs Mackenzie McDonald head-to-head

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Sam Querrey
Sam Querrey

Sam Querrey and Mackenzie McDonald have never played each other on the ATP tour, and therefore the head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.

Sam Querrey vs Mackenzie McDonald prediction

Mackenzie McDonald at the 2020 US Open
Mackenzie McDonald at the 2020 US Open

A former World No. 11, Sam Querrey is now ranked No. 56 in the world. He posted a 3-6 record in 2020, which featured four consecutive first-round exits after the tour resumed in August.

Querrey will be relying on his big serve and forehand in his first round match, and will need them to work from the get go.

Mackenzie McDonald's biggest assets are his quick movement around the court and his steady game from the baseline. The 25-year-old will hope to engage Querrey in long rallies and unsettle his attacking rhythm.

Having reached the quarterfinals at three of the last four events he has entered, McDonald is much more match fit than Querrey. That might just be enough for him to cause an upset.

Prediction: Mackenzie McDonald to win in three sets.

Published 05 Jan 2021, 21:58 IST
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