Doha 2021: Stan Wawrinka vs Lloyd Harris preview, head-to-head & prediction | Qatar ExxonMobil Open

Stan Wawrinka
Stan Wawrinka
Rudra Biswas

Match details

Fixture: Stan Wawrinka vs Lloyd Harris

Date: 9 March 2021

Tournament: Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2021

Round: First Round (Round of 32)

Venue: Doha, Qatar

Category: ATP 250

Surface: Outdoor hardcourt

Prize money: $787,930

Match timing: Not before 6 pm local time, 8.30 pm IST

Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | India - Eurosport

Stan Wawrinka vs Lloyd Harris preview

Stan Wawrinka exited the 2021 Australian Open in the first round
Stan Wawrinka exited the 2021 Australian Open in the first round

World No. 20 Stan Wawrinka will be looking to get his 2021 season back on track in Doha, as he takes on South Africa's Lloyd Harris in the first round.

Wawrinka had reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open last year, but the COVID-enforced tour suspension took away all of his momentum. The Swiss has accumulated a 10-8 W-L since the tour resumption, failing to go past the last-eight stage at any tournament he has entered.

Wawrinka did give a good account of himself in his last tournament of 2020, the Paris Masters, where he won three matches before losing to Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals. But the three-time Major champion has not been able to bring that form into the new year, suffering first-round defeats to Marton Fucsovics and Karen Khachanov at the Australian Open and the Rotterdam event respectively.

Lloyd Harris, meanwhile, is no pushover when it comes to facing top-level opponents; the big-hitting South African memorably took a set off eventual runner-up Roger Federer at Wimbledon 2019.

Currently ranked No. 84 in the world, Harris reached his maiden tour final last year at Adelaide - where he lost to Andrey Rublev.

Stan Wawrinka vs Lloyd Harris head-to-head

The first-round match at the Qatar Open will be the first-ever career meeting between Stan Wawrinka and Lloyd Harris, so the head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.

Stan Wawrinka vs Lloyd Harris prediction

Lloyd Harris plays a backhand
Lloyd Harris plays a backhand

Stan is far from the Man he once used to be, having struggled to get consistent results on the professional tour over the last few years. That said, the Swiss is still capable of playing his power-packed brand of tennis at times.

Wawrinka has the ability to take the racquet out of his opponent's hands with his big groundstrokes from both wings. The 35-year-old also has an efficient block return, which will likely be useful against Lloyd Harris' huge first serves.

The South African is not a bad mover for someone who is 6'5" tall, and he has particularly good footwork when running around his backhand. If Harris strikes his inside-out forehand well, he could cause plenty of problems to his older opponent.

That said, Wawrinka's down-the-line backhand is still good enough to get him out of jail. If the Swiss is on his game, he should be able to douse the challenge posed by Harris.

Prediction: Stan Wawrinka to win in three sets.

Edited by Musab Abid


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