Rogers Cup 2021: ATP 1000: Rafael Nadal vs Lloyd Harris: Preview and Prediction
Second seed Rafael Nadal sets up an exciting rematch against the 49th-ranked Lloyd Harris in the second round of the Rogers Cup 2021.
The South African had stunned the 20-time grand slam champion 6-4 1-6 6-4 just 5 days ago in the pre-quarters at the ATP-500 Washington Open. Interestingly, Nadal lost the match despite taking more points (83) than Harris (79).
How Lloyd Harris dismantled homeboy Brayden Schnur in Toronto?
The 24-year-old routed Canadian Schnur 6-3 6-2 in the first round of the Rogers Cup. The South African converted 4 breakpoints and fired 9 aces in the 77-minute victory. Harris also won a solid 77.77% of his first-serve points.
Will the defending champion tag affect Rafael Nadal?
The Spanish superstar will be fighting for 1000 points after he clinched the Rogers Cup in 2019. Despite the surprise defeat to Lloyd Harris in the Washington Open, Nadal said his left foot was better and the pain was less than the match against Jack Sock in the previous round.
“I was able to move a bit better, so that is very important, I was a little bit more nervous, but in the third set when I had opportunities, the truth is his serve was huge and I played this last game (4-5) really badly,” reflected Rafael Nadal after the tough loss to Harris in the round of 16.
The former World number 1 will be quite confident of his chances having won back-to-back titles (2018 and 2019). He has also reached the finals 5 times at the Rogers Cup in his career and possesses an impressive 38-8 win-loss record.
Battle of Weapons: Rafael Nadal vs Lloyd Harris
Both Nadal and Harris have two-handed backhands. The biggest strength of the South African is his big serve. The right-hander smashed 16 aces against Rafa in Washington. The 24-year-old kept attacking the Spaniard’s forehand with his hard-hitting. Except for the second set, Lloyd stood like a rock with his defense from the baseline.
Rafael Nadal needs to hit more forehand winners to take control against Harris. He will have to use his clever passing shots to accumulate points. The Spanish star should also be wary of the youngster’s tendency to hit lobs under pressure.
Lloyd Harris will follow his fearless style of first-strike tennis and keep points short. The South African will look to serve close to Rafa’s body on his first serve and finish off the rallies at the net. Nadal cannot afford a slow start against the red-hot Harris. Expect the Spaniard to get revenge and outlast the 24-year-old in another late-night thriller.
Prediction - Rafael Nadal to win in three sets against Lloyd Harris
Featured Image Credits - Archyde