What to Watch for on March 2nd

Taylor Fritz Australian Open

We are getting to the midway point of the week, where the quality gets that bit more solid and the tournaments get spicier. Let’s take a look at some Dubai, Acapulco, and Monterrey action:

What to Watch for on March 2nd

Taylor Fritz vs Denis Shapovalov

Having got through the tricky first round that is a match-up against John Isner, Fritz looks ahead to World #30 Dennis Shapovalov. The American has a spring in his step and is in decent form having just lifted the Delray Beach Open title to reach a career-high ranking of #5. Shapovalov is less so. The Canadian is on a losing streak of three matches and 2023 looks like it may be another nearly year with so much potential going to waste.

It’s so frustrating watching Shapovalov because there are all the ingredients for a terrific tennis player there, apart from his decision-making. All too often he goes for winners when it should be a rally ball and shoots himself in the foot (or racket). Make no mistake, on talent alone he is Top 10 quality. Unfortunately for him, though, there are no talent rankings, only result-based rankings.

Shapovalov and Fritz have a history. Famously in 2021, the former won every point on serve in the opening set, yet typically went on to lose anyway. Although it is Fritz who trails the head-to-head by five losses to two. Quite interestingly the last time Shapovalov had a solid tournament was when he beat Fritz in three sets en route to becoming runner-up in Vienna. Therefore–maybe for the first time–I am backing Shapovalov to pull off an upset in three sets.

Caroline Garcia vs Nuria Parrizas-Diaz

Last season’s WTA Finals winner hasn’t had the start to 2023 that she would have wished for, that’s for sure. An average stint in Australia followed by a failure to win her home tournament in Lyon would have hurt. Compound that with a quarterfinal loss in Qatar and an early exit in Dubai, she will be cursing the season so far and be eager to pick up some momentum. Maybe that explains her decision to play in this WTA 250 event. Although, as Lyon showed, that attitude can backfire.

In terms of the woman who stands in her way, there shouldn’t be many issues. Providing all things are equal, of course. The issue for Garcia is the Spaniard does have a shock result in her system here and there from time to time. Look at the Australian Open where she defeated Haddad Maia and Potapova. Yet, these moments have been few and far between, and that was the first time the 31-year-old made it past the first stage of a Grand Slam. Therefore, this should be a routine victory.

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Alexander Zverev vs Lorenzo Sonego

Expect fireworks. Sonego never fails to excite with his unforgiving attacking nature. Even if that approach isn’t the most effective strategy, it certainly makes for good viewing. Excitingly as well Zverev seems to be picking up some form having beat Lehecka earlier in the Dubai swing. At the end of the day, that is what it comes down to; what version of Zverev takes to the court. The German injured his ankle in the French Open last season during what was a thriller against Rafael Nadal. In reality, it was a real shame as he was beginning to really look Grand Slam-worthy, and with his big serve, the Wimbledon title could have been something realistically coming his way. Since then though he hasn’t hit those heights. Considering the extent of his injury though, that is normal and truth be told you would be expecting another couple of months at least before a return to peak Zverev. Peak Zverev won’t be needed though to dispose of world number 67.

Main Photo Credit: Mike Frey USAToday