By Alessandro Mastroluca
- The top-ranked British player in the draw, Cameron Norrie, will start against Brazilian qualifier Thiago Monteiro
- He grew up in Auckland where he reached his first ATP final last year
- Kyle Edmund will open his campaign against the Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – Cameron Norrie faces Thiago Monteiro, as he aims to defend points from last year’s final. Kyle Edmund will debut against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
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Cameron Norrie and Kyle Edmund will feature in the ASB Classic in Auckland. The Johannesburg-born Norrie will feels right at home, as he grew up in Auckland and reached there his maiden ATP Tour final last year as a wild-card, losing to American Tennys Sandgren. The top-ranked British player in the draw will play tonight against Brazilian qualifier Thiago Monteiro.
Cameron Norrie v Thiago Monteiro | No H2H
Norrie will debut at ASB Classic in Auckland against fellow left-hander Monteiro. The Brazilian, ranked No.87 in the ATP Rankings, beat Leonardo Mayer in the qualifying final round. The winner will meet Benoit Paire, the unpredictable Frenchman, or the Italian rising star Jannik Sinner.
The South American hasn’t sealed a tour-level victory since the BMW Open in Munich last April. He achieved his career-high rank at No. 74 on February 27, 2017, following back-to-back quarter-finals in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro.
After his biggest victory against No.9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in his first tour-level match at 2016 Sao Paulo, he finished four straight seasons in the Top 125. Last year, he qualified at Roland Garros and Wimbledon and went 30-14 at Challengers, winning titles at Punta del Este, Braunschweig, and Lima.
On an outdoor hard court, Norrie is expected to have a significant advantage. This is his best surface in terms of win-loss ratio, he’s 27-26 in ATP and Grand Slam events. His opponent, a well-known clay-court specialist, won just 5 of his 25 tour-level meetings on this surface.
Prediction: Norrie in straight sets
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Kyle Edmund v Alejandro Davidovich Fokina | No H2H
Edmund, who slipped down the rankings to his current position of 69 after a disappointing 2019 season, will aim to seal his maiden win of the season in his first meeting against Davidovich Fokina. The 20-years-old Spaniard has a peculiar style. He can hit flat, powerful groundstrokes and suddenly deliver deft drop-shots. The son of a former Russian boxer, inspired by Roger Federer, thinks his game is reminiscent of Novak Djokovic.
An avid Real Madrid fan like Rafael Nadal, he’s a sensible and impatient kind of player. He has the game, but he needs to learn how to manage his weapons properly.
The Brit will need to control his frustrations though, and remain focused on his game-plan. Using down-the-line forehands could put him in a better position against the younger opponent who feels overly confident in his backhand. Davidovich will seemingly try to use his best shot to expose Edmund’s main weakness.
Prediction: Edmund in three sets
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