Rafael Nadal vs Feliciano Lopez: Paris Masters Preview and Prediction
It is a clash of two Spaniards as Rafael Nadal and Feliciano Lopez lock horns against each other in the second round of the Paris Masters
- Nadal leads the head to head record 9-4 against Lopez. They are playing each other for the first time since 2015.
- Nadal is targetting the first title in Paris and a record-equalling 36th ATP Masters title.
- If Nadal wins against Lopez, it would be his record 1000th win on the ATP Tour joining the likes of Jimmy Connors (1274 wins) Roger Federer (1242 wins), and Ivan Lendl (1068 wins) in the exclusive 1000-win club.
- Lopez smashed 21 aces in his straight-sets win against Filip Krajinovic and won 100% (34/34) of his first-serve points.
- Nadal is playing his first match on hard-courts after clinching the title in the Acapulco Open.
Nadal will have to be prepared to face the heavy groundstrokes and big serves from Lopez. The 39-year-old's immense experience can pose a challenge for Rafa. If Nadal's first serve clicks and if he stays aggressive from the baseline, he could win easily.
Lopez has to attack the net regularly. Both have similar styles being left-handed two back-handed players. He showed signs of his calm demeanor saving six set points in the first-set tiebreak against Krajinovic.
Though the veteran is the underdog against Nadal, anything is possible if he serves well.
Although he turns 40 next year, the thought of retirement has not hit Lopez yet. “I am ready to play a full schedule again in 2021, I feel great on the court, I think I can still compete, I think I am still able to perform and to enjoy and to play against the best players in the world," said Lopez sounding positive about continuing his long two-decade career.
Nadal will look to start strong and wrap this up quickly. In the absence of his close rivals, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem to win the tournament given his spate of injuries in Paris that have wreaked havoc on his title ambitions in the previous editions.
Prediction - Rafael Nadal to win in straight sets
Featured Image Credits - firstsportz.com