Fixture: Benoit Paire vs Soonwoo Kwon
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. 3 pm CEST, 6.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - NBC Sports / Tennis Channel | India - Star Sports Select | France - Eurosport / france.tv sport | South Korea - jtbc golf & sports
Benoit Paire vs Soonwoo Kwon preview
Mercurial Frenchman Benoit Paire will begin his campaign at the 2020 French Open against South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon.
Paire has had a tumultuous past few weeks, having tested positive multiple times for COVID-19. While it’s unclear if he has recovered entirely, the Frenchman did test negative on Friday.
Paire has also seen his temperament and game run haywire in the past few tournaments. The 31-year-old retired injured in the opening round at both the Cincinnati Masters and the Hamburg Open. And at Rome, Paire was given a sound thrashing by the highly-rated Jannik Sinner, during which he displayed an unusual amount of dissent.
It remains to be seen if the Frenchman has recovered in time for his opening round clash against Soonwoo Kwon. Paire had been complaining of dizziness at Hamburg, which indicates that he might still be reeling from the after-effects of the COVID-19 infection.
Soonwoo Kwon on the other hand is a fast-improving player who likes to take the game to his opponent. He was particularly impressive against Denis Shapovalov at the US Open, where he even took a set off the Canadian.
Kwon has all the attributes to be a future success, and he will be looking to garner as much top-level experience as he can from this Grand Slam event.
The unpredictability of Paire will arguably be Kwon’s biggest obstacle during this match. While the Frenchman can be petulant and disinterested at times, he does have the ability to turn it on without notice and fire winners at will. And that can unsettle any player, not least someone as inexperienced as Kwon.
Benoit Paire vs Soonwoo Kwon head-to-head
The head-to-head between Benoit Paire and Soonwoo Kwon is currently at 0-0 as they are yet to face each other on the tour.
Benoit Paire vs Soonwoo Kwon prediction
Soonwoo Kwon may not enjoy playing on clay as much as he does on hardcourt, but his excellent movement will likely hold him in good stead against Paire.
To put it bluntly, Benoit Paire has been playing some poor tennis of late. While much of that can be attributed to his tryst with COVID-19, there have also been persistent questions about the Frenchman’s frame of mind in recent times.
Kwon is strong off both wings and might be able to regularly hit through Paire, who has been very sluggish in his recent matches. That, coupled with his defensive prowess, should help the South Korean grab the initiative in this match.
But if Paire is fully fit and turns up with a positive frame of mind, he does possess a few tricks up his sleeve that can hurt Kwon.
Prediction: Soonwoo Kwon to win in four sets.Published 26 Sep 2020, 14:53 IST