The ATP Auckland Open final is set and it’s an all-French battle. It’s been an exciting week of tennis so far in Auckland and with both finalists in fine form, the week looks set to end on a high. But who will head to Melbourne Park with a title in hand?
Auckland Open Final Prediction
Ugo Humbert vs Benoit Paire
Head-to-head: Paire 1-0 Humbert
Ugo Humbert has impressed so far at the Auckland Open. The Frenchman played some fine tennis in 2019, highlighted by a run to the fourth round at Wimbledon, and he has looked in good touch at the start of what could be a breakthrough year. He opened his campaign with a battling win over Casper Ruud, before thrashing a wayward Marco Cecchinato for the loss of just five games. Humbert backed that up by beating second seed Denis Shapovalov, a win he considered the finest of his career.
That set up a semifinal clash with the big-serving John Isner, back to winning ways in Auckland after a miserable week at the ATP Cup. The American won the Auckland Open back in 2010 and had beaten defending champion Tennys Sandgren and former-Australian Open semifinalist Kyle Edmund on his way to the last four. But Humbert was the better player throughout and the Frenchman claimed a deserved 7-6 6-4 win to reach his first tour-level final.
Benoit Paire, meanwhile, has had to fight hard to advance through the draw in Auckland. He enjoyed a career-best season in 2019, claiming two ATP titles, and he looks to have used that experience and confidence to see him through some testing encounters. His performance in the decider against the in-form Hubert Hurkacz was a testament to that, with the Frenchman using his backhand to impose himself on Hurkacz and seal a 6-4 6-7 6-2 win.
This will be the second meeting between this pair, with Paire having won the first last season at the Winston-Salem Open in three sets. But it is worth noting that Humbert is a more experienced player now and, crucially, he is playing with real confidence. His forehand and serve have been firing at the ASB Classic and he has proven extremely difficult to break. If he can maintain that level, expect him to prove too strong for Paire.
Prediction: Humbert in 3
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