Date: 8 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
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | India - Eurosport
Taylor Fritz vs Lorenzo Sonego preview
USA's Taylor Fritz had a disappointing season in 2020, as he failed to make any major breakthroughs. The former junior World No.1 will be looking for some redemption at the Qatar Open, as he takes on Italy's Lorenzo Sonego in his first-round match.
Fritz finished as the runner-up to Rafael Nadal in Acapulco last year, before reaching the third round of the US Open where he lost in a five-set thriller to Denis Shapovalov. The 23-year-old, however, fell into a major slump after the US Open; he lost nine of his 14 matches on the tour leading up to the 2021 Australian Open.
In Melbourne, Fritz gave a decent account of himself as he beat Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas and USA's Reilly Opelka before losing to Novak Djokovic in the third round.
Lorenzo Sonego, meanwhile, was in spectacular form towards the end of 2020. He stunned Novak Djokovic 6-2, 6-1 at Vienna, in what was one of the most lopsided losses of the World No. 1's career. The Italian went on to finish as the runner-up to Andrey Rublev at the ATP 500 event.
Sonego started the new year in disappointing fashion though, exiting early to World No. 258 Jason Kubler at the Murray River Open. Things did not get much better for the 25-year-old at the Australian Open, as he wasted a two-sets-to-love advantage before losing to Feliciano Lopez in the second round.
Taylor Fritz vs Lorenzo Sonego head-to-head
Taylor Fritz and Lorenzo Sonego have split their previous two meetings on the pro tour, so their current head-to-head stands at a 1-1 deadlock. Fritz had beaten Sonego at Wimbledon 2018, but the Italian evened the score last year by beating Fritz and Roland Garros.
Taylor Fritz vs Lorenzo Sonego prediction
Taylor Fritz has solid groundstrokes to go with his big serve, but he struggles to be consistent when drawn into long rallies. But the American's crosscourt forehand can be a real weapon, and if his opponents approach the net he can also surprise them with some sharp passing shots.
Lorenzo Sonego is more solid and varied from the baseline than Fritz. The Italian possesses a strong forehand and a precise serve, which earned him plenty of success in 2020.
If the World No. 35 gets used to the court speed in Doha quickly, he might be able to put pressure on Fritz and elicit just enough unforced errors for a close win.
Prediction: Lorenzo Sonego to win in three sets.