Fixture: Frances Tiafoe vs Kevin Anderson
Tournament: Millennium Estoril Open 2021
Round: First round (Round of 32)
Venue: Estoril, Portugal
Category: ATP 250
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €419,470
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video
Frances Tiafoe vs Kevin Anderson preview
Claycourt tennis heads to the shores of Estoril, Portugal this week, where Frances Tiafoe will take on Kevin Anderson in the first round of the 2021 Millennium Estoril Open. Tiafoe will be playing in his fourth claycourt event of the year, but for Anderson this is the first appearance on red soil in 2021.
Tiafoe is coming off a mediocre performance at the Barcelona Open, where he failed to make it beyond the second round. While the American did get the better of the in-form Carlos Alcaraz in the first round, he fell to Diego Schwartzman in the second.
Interestingly, Tiafoe also failed to progress beyond the second round at the two other clay events he played earlier in the year - the Argentina Open and the Chile Open. He will be looking to make amends on his fourth attempt at the Estoril Open.
Kevin Anderson, on the other hand, hasn't played on clay since his third-round defeat at the 2020 French Open. In fact, the South African has only played in three events this year - the Great Ocean Road Open, the Australian Open and the Miami Masters.
While Anderson progressed to the Round of 16 at the Great Ocean Road Open, he failed to cross the first round in either Melbourne or Miami.
The 34-year-old was forced to pull out of the Qatar Open and the Mexican Open due to recurring knee and hip injuries. Physical issues have constantly hindered his career in recent years, but Anderson is ready to keep fighting.
The two-time Grand Slam finalist believes he still has some tennis left in him. But clay is his weakest surface, so Anderson likely isn't coming into this tournament with too high expectations.
Frances Tiafoe vs Kevin Anderson head-to-head
Kevin Anderson has enjoyed decent success against Frances Tiafoe in the past and leads the American 3-1 in the head-to-head. This will be their first match-up on clay.
Their most recent encounter - at the 2019 Australian Open - was won by Tiafoe in four sets.
Frances Tiafoe vs Kevin Anderson prediction
Kevin Anderson's big serve and groundstrokes always make him a threat regardless of the surface. However, there are big question marks over his form and fitness ahead of his match against Frances Tiafoe.
Tiafoe on his part is a powerful striker of the tennis ball himself, and can generate winners at will off his excellent forehand. The American is also more agile on clay than his counterpart, and will have the upper hand in the longer rallies.
Anderson will undoubtedly look to dictate play with his powerful serve and crushing forehand. But it remains to be seen if this ploy will see him through the entirety of the match.
The South African's lack of mobility on clay might also be a stumbling block for him against Tiafoe.
Prediction: Frances Tiafoe to win in three sets.