Open Sud de France 2020: Richard Gasquet vs Feliciano Lopez, match preview and prediction
The two men go way to 2003 Marseille, where the Frenchman got the first of his six wins over his opponent. Lopez, on the other hand, has only managed to beat Gasquet on one occasion.
The duo's two meetings on hardcourts have also been dominated by Gasquet and he remains undefeated against Lopez on this particular surface. But the Spaniard will be looking to use his good form in recent weeks to change the head to head record.
Lopez's demolition of the eight seed Ugo Humbert in the opening round here is testament to the same, and the 38-year-old will be brimming with confidence heading into this match despite his dismal numbers.
The Spaniard's solidity at the net and improved court awareness have greatly improved his ability to score quick points, as has been evident in the last few big wins to have come his way.
He has looked razor sharp and the legs, even at 38, are showing no signs of slowing down. If anything, he is playing a greater number of matches than he ever has in his career (including both singles and doubles).
That then will be a tough act to top for Gasquet, who hasn't been in the best of form on his own. Coming off a break of sorts, the Frenchman will have no time to test his match fitness against Lopez.
He will need to play his best tennis right from the start, and that's not always the easiest thing to do for someone who has not been competitive for a few months.
The odds are stacked against Gasquet here, but the Frenchman is a class act. He has sprung many a surprise win over the course of his career, and a deep run in his first tournament back will be a big confidence booster.
Getting over Lopez is the first step, and a hard one at that. Which is why the match will likely be close no matter who wins.
Prediction: Lopez to win in two tight sets.Published 06 Feb 2020, 15:48 IST