Eighth seed Paire, who has come off a great 2019 season, has struggled to replicate the same amount of success in the new year. Early exits in Melbourne, Maharashtra and Rotterdam have not helped his confidence, and he will be keen to change that.
That said, he is up against a very difficult opponent in the form of the ever-dangerous Gasquet. Not only is the older Frenchman a class act, he is someone that Paire has struggled against immensely.
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Gasquet has won seven of the duo's last nine matches, but that's not the only thing that he has going in his favour. In fact, Gasquet has shown a lot of promise in whatever little tennis he has played in 2020.
The seasoned Frenchman had taken some time off following a few fitness troubles, but came back strong with a couple of good wins on his return. His loss to Mikael Ymer last week notwithstanding, he has been solid with his tennis.
A great thinker on court, Gasquet has troubled Paire throughout his career. He does not rush into shots; instead, he constructs his points with pinpoint precision. His style of play, if not explosive, is workmanlike and rather understated.
Playing opponents like Gasquet is nothing short of a nightmare for Paire because they give nothing away even in the most perilous of situations. With Gasquet standing across the net, you can always expect a good ball coming back at you, no matter what the match situation.
Paire's inability to manage his emotions on court is in stark contrast with Gasquet's more restrained demeanor. And it would be fair to say that the same has even cost Paire a few matches over the years.
Wednesday will be no different for either man. To be able to stand a chance against Gasquet, Paire will have to keep his emotions in check and be prepared to be patient in the points and respect his opponent's very consistent style of play.
Prediction: Gasquet to win in three sets.Published 26 Feb 2020, 14:45 IST