Maharashtra Open 2020: Benoit Paire vs Roberto Marcora, match preview and prediction
The field at this year's tournament might not be as competitive as in some of the past years, but that just opens the door for the lower-ranked players to notch up a few good wins on the big stage. And Paire's opponent of the day would be looking to do just that.
Playing in just his second main draw match on the ATP Tour, Marcora will be a heavy underdog heading into this one.
It is astonishing that someone with such a good all-round game has had to struggle so hard for success on the tour. That probably has a lot to do with the highly competitive field of tennis at the moment, but Marcora definitely has what it takes.
The 30-year-old has a good first serve and a solid forehand, both of which he uses to great effect. He can hit a flat ball, but is also capable of putting some spin on it to give it extra weight.
The only areas where he lacks are his glaringly poor second serve and a not-so-consistent one-handed backhand. He is great mover, but can be at a loss when made to play more than two backhands in a row.
Talking of backhands, Paire is right up there amongst the best in the world on that side. He might just have too much firepower for his opponent on Wednesday, but that's not to say that the Frenchman is not susceptible to erratic play.
There can be times when Paire becomes his own worst enemy, and playing against someone who has had extra match practice (having played qualifying and the first round), it's always difficult to find your rhythm right off the gates.
If he struggles there, Marcora definitely has the game to rush to an early lead. It will be important for the Italian to start off well and build from there, but whether he will be able to deliver is anybody's guess.
Prediction: Paire to win in two tight sets.Published 04 Feb 2020, 22:02 IST