The final of the ATP 250 in Auckland is not one most were expecting, but there is a lot on the line for both players. Taro Daniel is playing in his second ATP Final and his first in nearly six years, while Alejandro Tabilo is making a maiden appearance in an ATP final. There will undoubtedly be nerves for both men, and sometimes that can create the most dramatic matches to watch. As always, we at LWOT predict the outcome of the final. But which player do you think will lift the title in Auckland?
ATP Auckland Final Prediction
Taro Daniel vs Alejandro Tabilo
Head-to-head: First meeting
Both players pulled off huge upsets in the semifinal by beating two rising stars of men’s tennis. They did it in style too. Daniel defeated Ben Shelton in straight sets, while Tabilo beat Arthur Fils even more comfortably in two sets. In addition, both players have only dropped one set throughout the tournament. Tabilo managed this despite having to come through the qualifying draw, although he did benefit from the withdrawal of Cameron Norrie in the quarterfinal.
Their respective journeys to the final may be similar, but the playing styles of the two players do differ quite significantly. Tabilo is left-handed, and his biggest strength is his big lefty forehand, which he can hit flat or with a lot of spin. By contrast, Daniel is right-handed, and his biggest asset is an excellent two-handed. The Tabilo forehand and Daniel backhand matchup is likely to be the most important part of this final. Hitting heavy cross-court shots into his opponent’s backhand is Tabilo’s most common tactic. It is also what he is most comfortable doing, and in a maiden final, he is likely to use his most common plays.
It is a tight one to call. However, Daniel gets a slight edge in the Auckland final. His one previous experience in an ATP final could help, and he did win that final. Also, the solidity of the Daniel game and backhand especially will put more pressure on Tabilo to take more risks. Can he execute that style in the pressure of a final? It is certainly possible, but my feeling is that Daniel will hold his nerve a little bit better over the course of the contest.
Prediction: Daniel in 3
Main Photo Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports