Fixture: Alexander Zverev vs Dennis Novak
Date: 27 September 2020
Tournament: Roland Garros 2020
Round: First round (Round of 128)
Venue: Paris, France
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: Approx. €38,000,000
Match timing: Approx. 6 pm CEST, 9.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - NBC Sports / Tennis Channel: India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Also check out: The Complete French Open 2020 Schedule
Alexander Zverev vs Dennis Novak preview
World No. 7 Alexander Zverev will return to action for the first time since losing to Dominic Thiem in a dramatic five-set final at the US Open, when he takes on Dennis Novak in his opening round match at Roland Garros.
The German didn't play the Italian Open last week, opting instead to give himself some well-deserved rest. Zverev showed a lot of grit throughout the fortnight at Flushing Meadows, winning some tough matches en route reaching his maiden Slam final, so it was understandable that he was feeling a bit of fatigue.
But even though he has not had any match practice before arriving in Paris, the 6'6" youngster will be expected to have a good campaign on his favorite surface.
Zverev had been nearly spotless in the European clay swing two years ago, winning the Madrid Masters and finishing runner-up to Rafael Nadal at the Italian Open. But the 23-year-old underwent a surprising regression a year after that, where he struggled to register wins.
Zverev is back to his steady self this year, and will be looking to take advantage of the golden opportunity of being coached by former French Open finalist David Ferrer.
World No. 91 Dennis Novak, meanwhile, will be making his debut at Roland Garros on Sunday. The Austrian has not had any notable results on clay in the past, and prefers faster courts over the red brick.
Alexander Zverev vs Dennis Novak head-to-head
The first-round match in Paris will be the first-ever career meeting between Alexander Zverev and Dennis Novak, so the head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Alexander Zverev vs Dennis Novak prediction
Alexander Zverev had reached the quarterfinals of the French Open last year, but of late he has looked less impressive on the dirt than he was at the onset of his young career.
With a large wingspan, the German possess the ability to hammer high, deep groundstrokes off both wings. But for much of 2019 Zverev was seen struggling to grab the initiative in the rallies, as he repeatedly looped his forehand rather than hit through it.
Ferrer has helped Zverev in this department, urging him to strike a bigger ball on his forehand. Now we just have to see how that plays out at a Slam.
Dennis Novak will be a decent test for Zverev's attempt at being more authoritative with his forehand. The Austrian has a consistent forehand himself, and will look to exploit any tentativeness that Zverev shows as the match progresses.
Prediction: Alexander Zverev to win in four sets.
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