ATP Doha Day 2 Predictions Including Taro Daniel vs Andy Murray

Andy Murray Indian Wells
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With four men’s tournaments taking place this week, there is sure to be no shortage of exciting matches. One of those four ATP Tour locations is Doha, where top players are battling it out in the first week of action in the Middle East. Next week, Dubai will take center-stage on the ATP Tour.

Who will win and who will fall short on Tuesday in Doha? I give my best guesses below. We also look at the day’s other three matches in a separate article.

ATP Doha Day 2 Predictions

Alexander Bublik vs Jozef Kovalik

Head to Head: tied 1-1

Alexander Bublik fell to Andy Murray in the first round of Rotterdam last week, but that was almost aided by fatigue. Bublik won Montpellier the week prior, his first ATP Tour title. Jozef Kovalik is a better player on clay than hard courts, but he does have a fairly solid baseline game and will force Bublik to work hard to beat him. Kovalik did well to qualify for Doha, not losing a set in victories over Andrey Golubev and Illya Marchenko.

The head to head is tied 1-1, but they’ve never played on hard courts. I struggle to see how Kovalik can make an impact in this match. Bublik served so well in Montpellier and his variety constantly kept opponents off-balance. Kovalik is fairly consistent, but Bublik will be in plenty of his service games and the Kazakh will win plenty of free points on his own serve. Expect Bublik to have too much game for Kovalik here.
Prediction: Bublik in 2

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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina vs Malek Jaziri

Head to Head: never played

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina had a tough first-round draw in Rotterdam, falling in three sets to Stefanos Tsitsipas. Despite breaking the tough Tsitsipas serve four times over the course of the match, Davidovich Fokina couldn’t protect his own serve well-enough to come away with the victory, getting broken six times. 38 year-old Malek Jaziri received a wild card into Doha. The Tunisian did well to qualify for Bengaluru last week, but fell in the first round to Evgeny Donskoy.

These two have never played before. Davidovich Fokina is a much more solid player than Jaziri at this stage in their respective careers. While Jaziri’s backhand slice and variety can give opponents issues, Davidovich Fokina’s baseline game is strong enough that he should be able to handle it without too many issues. The Spaniard should have chances in plenty of Jaziri’s service games, as well, as his return of serve is excellent. And Jaziri isn’t returning at a high-enough level at the moment to bother Davidovich Fokina. Davidovich Fokina will comfortably advance to the next round.
Prediction: Davidovich Fokina in 2

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David Goffin vs Emil Ruusuvuori

Head to Head: never played

David Goffin has not had a great stretch of matches recently. Goffin has lost four of his past five matches, including a 6-0, 6-3 defeat to Alex De Minaur in Rotterdam. Emil Ruusuvuori made the final of Pune in his last tournament, coming within one set of his maiden ATP Tour title. Ruusuvuori was striking the ball incredibly well during the tournament and hit the ball with excellent controlled aggression.

These two have never played before. Goffin is not hitting with near the precision and consistency that he once did. Ruusuvuori played so well in Pune and should be able to control the baseline against the Belgian. Ruusuvuori’s serve is also better than Goffin’s. Expect Ruusuvuori to win this one.
Prediction Ruusuvuori in 2

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Taro Daniel vs Andy Murray

Head to Head: tied 1-1

Taro Daniel hasn’t played since a successful Australian Open campaign which saw him qualify and make the third round. One of Daniel’s big wins in Melbourne was a straight-sets win over Andy Murray in the second round. Murray played in Rotterdam last week, taking out Alexander Bublik in the first round before losing to eventual champion Felix Auger-Aliassime. Murray only won 50% of his service points in the loss to Auger-Aliassime.

The head to head is tied 1-1, with the most recent matchup being the aforementioned Australian Open match. Given that this is the first round of Doha, and Murray is still fresh, he should be able to grind Daniel down. While Daniel’s serve and baseline game have been very strong so far this season, Murray is one of the top counterpunchers in the world. When he doesn’t have to play a five-set match before (like he did in Australia), he should be able to break down the Daniel game eventually. Murray moves on.
Prediction: Murray in 3

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