Fixture: Jannik Sinner vs Alexander Bublik
Date: 16 March 2021
Tournament: Dubai Tennis Championships 2021
Round: Second round (Round of 32)
Venue: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Category: ATP 500
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $1,897,805
Match timing: Approx. 3 pm local time, 4.30 pm
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Jannik Sinner vs Alexander Bublik preview
Italy's teen prodigy Jannik Sinner, who is chasing his third career title in Dubai, will take on Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik in his opener at the ATP 500-level tournament.
Sinner has been in good form since the start of the 2021 season, having won his second ATP title in Adelaide. The 19-year-old followed that up with a run to the quarterfinals in Marseille, where he lost to eventual champion Daniil Medvedev.
Sinner now finds himself in the tougher half of the draw at the Dubai Tennis Championships, which also features Andrey Rublev and Roberto Bautista Agut. But the fast-rising teen is no stranger to navigating his way through top players, having beaten the likes of Alexander Zverev and David Goffin en route to reaching the last-eight at Roland Garros last year.
Sinner's opening-round opponent is the mercurial Alexander Bublik, currently placed at No. 43 in the ATP rankings. The 23-year-old has finished as the runner-up in two ATP events so far this year.
Bublik has continued the good start to his season in Dubai, as he hit 17 aces past Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka to reach the second round.
Jannik Sinner vs Alexander Bublik head-to-head
The second-round match in Dubai will be the first-ever career meeting between Jannik Sinner and Alexander Bublik, so the head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Jannik Sinner vs Alexander Bublik prediction
Alexander Bublik has an all-round game, with easy power on his serve and groundstrokes. The Kazakh has also gained a lot of fame for his underarm serve, a tactic he employs when his opponents least expect it.
That said, Bublik doesn't have as much variety in his patterns of play as his younger opponent.
Jannik Sinner has an aggressive game with very few weaknesses; his backhand in particular is already among the best in the world. The 19-year-old can also create some incredible angles with his forehand, and has more than decent foot speed too.
Sinner's talent is unquestionable, but the Italian has, at times, struggled to get over the finish line after a good start. If he is able to keep his focus and maintain his range against the tricky Kazakh in Dubai, he will most likely make it through to the Round of 16.
Prediction: Jannik Sinner to win in three sets.