Fixture: Richard Gasquet vs Roberto Carballés Baena
Date: 10 November 2020
Tournament: Sofia Open 2020
Round: First round (Round of 32)
Venue: Sofia, Bulgaria
Category: ATP 250 Series
Surface: Indoor hardcourt
Prize money: €325,615
Match timing: 12 pm local time, 3.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel
Richard Gasquet vs Roberto Carballes Baena preview
The 2020 Sofia Open will witness seasoned campaigners Richard Gasquet and Roberto Carballes Baena take on each other in an intriguing first round clash.
The match will hold greater significance for Gasquet, who snapped a losing streak at the recently held Paris Masters. The Frenchman will now look to end an underwhelming season on a somewhat positive note.
He will still enter this clash with a certain sense of caution though, as his opponent has been playing some good tennis in recent months.
Roberto Carballes Baena had suffered a slew of early exits at the start of the year, but he managed a complete turnaround beginning September. After scoring a good win in New York, the Spaniard went on to upset Denis Shapovalov in the second round at Roland Garros.
The run in Paris saw him return to the top 100 of the world rankings, and that would have certainly given him a huge confidence boost.
A proven claycourt specialist, Carballes Baena is yet to achieve a big result on faster surfaces. A somewhat open draw at this year's Sofia tournament could give him extra motivation to do well there.
Richard Gasquet vs Roberto Carballes Baena head-to-head
Richard Gasquet has won the duo's only prior meeting, and therefore leads the head-to-head 1-0. The win came at the 2016 Madrid Masters, with the Frenchman coming out on top in straight sets.
Richard Gasquet vs Roberto Carballes Baena prediction
Richard Gasquet hasn't played his best tennis this season, but he will still go into this match as the favorite due to his experience and prowess on the surface.
The Frenchman's attacking game - anchored by a masterful one-handed backhand - is designed to do well on the indoor courts of Sofia. He will step out on the court looking to take control, and the outcome could well come down to how well he is striking the ball on the day.
Roberto Carballes Baena, on his part, will need to take a more proactive stance than usual in the rallies. Hanging behind the baseline and trying to fend off a barrage of big groundstrokes can only take him so far in this match.
Prediction: Richard Gasquet to win in two tight sets.Published 08 Nov 2020, 21:01 IST