Day 2 of the ATP Barcelona Open sees the conclusion of the opening round matches. With a combination of youth and experience on display, it promises to be another day of intriguing clay court tennis. I predict three of Tuesday’s matches in this article. We also predict the day’s other matches in two other articles. One features Carlos Alcaraz vs Frances Tiafoe and the other features Jeremy Chardy vs Denis Shapovalov.
ATP Barcelona Day 2 Predictions
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina vs Alexander Bublik
Head to Head: First Meeting
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina reached his first Masters 1000 quarterfinal in Monte Carlo last week, and he was able to cause Stefanos Tsitsipas problems in the opening set before being forced to retire with injury. The Spaniard is now ranked just inside the world’s top 50, and Davidovich Fokina has recorded impressive Tour level victories this season such as wins over Roberto Bautista Agut in Rotterdam, Hubert Hurkacz in Montpeiller and last week he recorded his first top 10 win with a straight sets victory over Matteo Berrettini in the second round of Monte Carlo.
Alexander Bublik has also made a successful start to the 2021 season, reaching the final of the ATP 250 event in Singapore and followed that up with a straight sets victory over Alexander Zverev in Rotterdam. At the Miami Open, he reached the quarterfinals, with his variety proving to be too much for Taylor Fritz in the round of 16. The Kazakh often utilizes the underarm serve but also possesses an incredible amount of firepower, especially on the forehand side.
It is difficult to predict this match as it is unclear how Davidovich Fokina’s injury will affect him. If both players are fully fit then this should be a close match, but I a giving the edge to the Spaniard due to his better clay court form.
Prediction: Davidovich Fokina in 3
Richard Gasquet vs Jordan Thompson
Head to Head: 1-0 Thompson
Jordan Thompson reached the quarterfinals of the Great Ocean Road Open at the start of the season, but has failed to win consecutive matches on the ATP Tour since then. The Australian recorded his first masters 1000 win on clay last week in Monte Carlo in a three set victory over Benoit Paire.
Richard Gasquet has not played much tennis this year, with the Frenchman only playing three ATP Tour events this season. He won his opening round matches in Doha and Dubai, however was forced to withdraw from the former due to injury. This will be the Frenchman’s first clay court match of the season, and it is difficult to gauge what level of tennis he will produce on the court.
Neither player possesses a big weapon to overpower their opponent, however, the Frenchman’s one handed backhand is considered to be one of the best in the game. Their only previous meeting was played in the semifinals of S-Hertogenbosch where the Australian got the win, and I think he have more confidence in himself on this surface after a win in Monte Carlo last week. I think he will get the win in two tight sets.
Prediction: Thompson in 2
Feliciano Lopez vs Lorenzo Musetti
Head to Head: First Meeting
Lorenzo Musetti first came onto the radar of many tennis fans in Rome last year, where he beat Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori in straight sets. This season the Italian has made a quick rise up the ATP rankings. With a current ranking of #87, he is the youngest member of the top 100. The Italian reached the semifinals of the ATP 500 event in Acapulco after coming through qualifying, recording wins over Diego Schwartzman, Frances Tiafoe, and Grigor Dimitrov in the main draw. Musetti showed his clay court prowess by reaching the quarterfinals of the Sardinia Open a fortnight ago, saving multiple match points in a win over Monte Carlo semifinalist Dan Evans in the second round.
After a run to the third round of the Australian Open, were he was knocked out by Andrey Rublev, Feliciano Lopez has struggled to win matches on the ATP Tour this season. However the Spaniard’s first win since the Australian Open came on the clay courts of the Andalucia Open a fortnight ago, where Lopez managed to win beat Taro Daniel in his first round match, before losing a tight three set match to Carlos Alcaraz. The Spaniard will no doubt be looking forward to the grass court season as he is the defending singles and doubles champion at Queens Club and is the surface that is best suited to his game, as he is able to come to the net more often and where his big serve is most effective.
I think this will go to three sets, with Lopez always staying competitive in the match because of his serve, however I think with Musetti’s confidence and the Spaniard’s lack of form, the Italian will win a tight three set match.
Prediction: Musetti in 3
Main Photo from Getty.