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Open Sud de France 2020: Gael Monfils vs Adrian Mannarino, match preview and prediction

ANALYST
Preview
Modified 06 Feb 2020, 21:41 IST

Gael Monfils is the top seed in a field dominated by fellow Davis Cup teammates
Gael Monfils is the top seed in a field dominated by fellow Davis Cup teammates

Gael Monfils would be enjoying the leadership role that he's come to be attached with in his long career for the French Davis Cup team. And now, he's set to face a very talented field of teammates at the 2020 Open Sud de France, starting with 31-year-old Adrian Mannarino.

It will be familiar territory for both men as they meet for the fifth time in their careers, having won two matches apiece in their previous meetings.

While the Monfils resurgence of late would make one think of him as a favourite in this one, a look at Mannarino's 2019 would suggest otherwise.

Adrian Mannarino had a great season in 2019, winning his first tour title
Adrian Mannarino had a great season in 2019, winning his first tour title

The left-handed Frenchman not only won his first career title on tour, but also reached two other finals. The surprise performances saw him claw his way back into the top-50 and gave him the confidence to challenge the top dogs.

Consistency is the one department that Mannarino has struggled with all his career. His career trajectory has been as erratic as his forehand, which have seen incredible highs, but some very dismal lows as well.

In fact, his first round match against Alexei Popyrin sums up his journey well. He looked to be in cruise control with a 6-0 first set, but went on to lose the second in a tiebreaker - only to come back and win the third with a 6-0 score as well.

Monfils started strong before losing steam at the Australian Open
Monfils started strong before losing steam at the Australian Open

Luckily for Mannarino, his opponent for the day also knows a thing or two about erratic play. Monfils has done remarkably well to keep his act together throughout his career, but he is vulnerable to being overwhelmed by the burden of his own brilliance every now and then.

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When he's playing a well structured, composed game, there's no shot in the book that Monfils cannot make. But sometimes, the sheer number of options at his disposal is what becomes his undoing. Once complacency and poor shit selection start to creep in, his game goes off the rails.

Things have slipped out of his hands quickly in matches galore. But one would think against an opponent that he knows well and has seen play for years, Monfils might not struggle as much.

If he manages to keep things simple, he should emerge triumphant on Thursday.

Prediction: Monfils to win in two tight sets.

Published 06 Feb 2020, 21:41 IST
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