Canadian star Milos Raonic will be keen to get back to winning ways after his successful run in Melbourne was neutralized by a shock loss to Korean Kwon Soon-Woo in New York.
The 29-year-old could not get past Kwon despite firing 33 aces in that encounter. Unfortunately for Raonic, another scrappy opponent in the form of Denis Istomin awaits him in his first match at the Delray Beach Open 2020.
Returning from yet another injury setback, the former Asian Games champion has made his way through the qualifiers and is all set for his first real test on the American hardcourts.
Istomin last played a main draw match in July 2019, losing out to red-hot Dusan Lajovic in a hard-fought battle. Things haven't worked out for him at the highest level and he has been forced to participate on the Challenger tour to get his ranking back up.
Istomin hasn't been at his consistent best on court in the past few months. That said, he has still managed to find his way past some tough opponents. The one thing that hasn't deserted him is his never say die attitude which played a major role in his shock victory over Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open a few years ago.
While there is no denying that Raonic, on his day, has too much firepower for the likes of Istomin, there are certain things the Uzbek can do to try and keep pace with the Canadian.
Opponents who have found success against Raonic are those that have managed to stay strong on their own serve and force the Canadian into a tiebreaker, where he is much more vulnerable than on his service games.
That's what Kwon did against him in New York and that's what Istomin will have to try and do in Delray Beach if he is to come away with a victory.
Prediction: Raonic to win in straight sets.