Lyon Open 2021: Men's singles draw analysis, preview & prediction

Dominic Thiem
Dominic Thiem

The ATP tour travels to Lyon this week for one of the last few events in the lead-up to Roland Garros. World No. 4 Dominc Thiem and World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas headline the 2021 Lyon Open; both of them took a last-minute minute wildcard to the event, and will be looking to add some more matches under their belt.

Tsitsipas has arguably been the most form player this clay season, having reached at least the quarterfinals of every event barring the Madrid Open. The Greek won his maiden Masters title in Monte Carlo, and registered a runner-up finish in Barcelona and a last eight appearance in Rome.

Dominic Thiem, on the other hand, has not had a good season at all. Thiem struggled with physical and mental setbacks at the start of the year, and missed the first two Masters tournaments of the year.

The Austrian made his return to action in Madrid, but is yet to regain top form. He will be hoping to get his season back on track in Lyon, a tournament he won in 2018.

It should be noted, however, that Thiem isn't the only player who has entered the French event in dire need of form. The likes of Diego Schwartzman, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Gael Monfils have also arrived in Lyon on the back of disappointing results throughout the season, and will be looking to turn things around this week.

With main draw action set to kick off on Monday, here's a look at how the event is likely to play out:

Top half: Dominic Thiem, Diego Schwartzman, Jannik Sinner and Aslan Karatsev to fight for supremacy

Aslan Karatsev
Aslan Karatsev

Top seeded players: [1] Dominic Thiem, [3] Diego Schwartzman, [6] Jannik Sinner, [8] Karen Khachanov

Expected semifinal: Dominic Thiem vs Diego Schwartzman

Dark horse: Aslan Karatsev

Analysis: In normal circumstances, Dominic Thiem would have been expected to march past everyone at a claycourt 250 event without much trouble. But Thiem has been a shadow of his old self since the beginning of the season, and is still trying to work his way back to form.

The Austrian has been handed no favors as far as his draw is concerned. Having received a bye, Thiem could face either Cameron Norrie or Corentin Moutet in his Lyon opener before a likely battle against one of Jannik Sinner or Aslan Karatsev.

Both Sinner and Karatsev have played some great tennis this year, and can outhit Thiem in his current form.

Diego Schwartzman leads the opposite side of Thiem's half, and he will be looking to break a three-match losing streak. Although the Argentine reigned supreme in Buenos Aires this year, he has not had a good claycourt season by any measure.

Nonetheless, Schwartzman is expected to go deep at this event given his draw. The 28-year-old has three qualifiers and a wildcard in his quarter, with only the inconsistent Karen Khachanov likely to offer any resistance in his route to the last four.

The going would get tougher for Schwartzman after that though, as he could face Thiem, Sinner or Karatsev for a place in the championship match.

Bottom half: Stefanos Tsitsipas handed a fairly easy draw in Lyon

Stefanos Tstisipas
Stefanos Tstisipas

Top seeded players: [2] Stefanos Tsitsipas, [4] David Goffin, [5] Gael Monfils, [7] Felix Auger-Aliassime

Expected semifinal: Stefanos Tsitsipas vs David Goffin

Dark horse: Pierre Hugues-Herbert

Stefanos Tsitsipas has been in great form on clay ever since he reached the Roland Garros semifinals for the first time in his career last year. The Greek has enjoyed amazing results on dirt in 2021, and will be looking to put up another good showing in Paris next month.

Having received a bye, Tsitsipas could face either Tommy Paul or 2017 champion Jo-Wilfriend Tsonga in his Lyon opener. If the 22-year-old progresses into the last eight, he could cross swords with Gael Monfils, Ugo Humbert or Lloyd Harris.

Gael Monfils
Gael Monfils

Monfils, a former French Open semifinalist, has been in a slump ever since losing to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the 2020 Dubai Open. The Frenchman is, in fact, currently riding an eight-match losing streak.

Having said that, Monfils took a much-needed break at the beginning of the year, and should be expected to play with renewed energy in his hometown event this week.

David Goffin leads the opposite side of Tsitsipas' half, and finds himself in a tough section. The Belgian could face either 2018 finalist Gilles Simon or Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene in the second round, before likely taking on Felix Auger-Aliassime for a place in the last four.

Auger-Aliassime, who reached his second ATP final in Lyon two years ago at the bare age of 18, will have to get past Lorenzo Sonego (who reached the semifinals in Rome this year), Pierre Hugues-Herbert and Sebastian Korda just to make it to the quarterfinals.

Semifinal predictions

Aslan Karatsev vs Diego Schwartzman

Stefanos Tsitsipas vs David Goffin

Predicted final

Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Aslan Karatsev

Predicted champion

Stefanos Tsitsipas

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Edited by Musab Abid
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