Atlanta (2nd round): Norrie – Kyrgios and Ruusuvuori – Paire

Cameron Norrie – Nick Kyrgios

Cameron Norrie is coming off a very good tournament in Los Cabos where he won his first ATP title. He follows up with this ATP 250 in Atlanta, which has done quite well for him in the past. Indeed, the British has always reached the semi-finals of this tournament (2018 and 2019).

On the other hand, the world number 29 is going to play a big match in this second round. Even if he likes to play the clown, Nick Kyrgios obviously didn’t come to this American tournament to play with ferns. In fact, this ATP 250 in Atlanta has also been a success for him in the past. The Australian has indeed lifted the trophy in 2016 and reached the 1/4 finals in 2018. In his last participation, we remember that he had to withdraw during the match against Cameron Norrie.

Tennis-wise, these two guys have a lot to live up to. Cameron Norrie can be very oppressive in the backhand rallies and his backhand is capable of putting a lot of acceleration into the opponent’s court. However, Nick Kyrgios’ monstrous forehand is more than capable of countering that. Also, Norrie doesn’t have his opponent’s serve and that could work against him on this very fast surface. Rallies come more easily on Cameron Norrie’s games, while the Australian doesn’t seem to be willing to give his opponents many opportunities. Against Anderson, for example, he did not concede a single break point and managed 15 aces.

On the other hand, it is important to highlight the fact that Cameron Norrie is coming out of a big week in Mexico, especially psychologically where he might have a hard time getting back into it after (finally) getting his first ATP title. In parallel, Nick Kyrgios has already been able to play two matches in Atlanta (unlike Norrie, he went through the 1st round and also played doubles with Jack Sock). This could allow the Australian to enter this match better.

Nick Kyrgios, for a crazy match against Benoit Paire in the 1/4 finals? Oh how beautiful it would be.

Prediction: Nick Kyrgios

Medium risk

Emil Ruusuvuori – Benoit Paire

Nick Kyrgios, for a crazy match against Benoit Paire in the 1/4 finals? Oh how beautiful it would be.

At 22 years old, Emil Ruusuvuori is still young and lacks experience. Moreover, except for his incredible victory against Alexander Zverev in Miami (and the German helped him a lot), the Finn hasn’t done much this season. Moreover, he has only 4 wins in his last 10 matches and has not yet reached the quarter-finals of a tournament in 2021 (out of the 15 where he was engaged this season).

So, yes, we agree. Benoit Paire is far from being mentally stable and he is totally capable of losing this match. But if we look at the dynamics of these two players, it is the Frenchman who is currently riding a better wave. He has reached the quarter finals of the last two tournaments where he was involved (Hamburg and Gstaad) and does not seem to give up so easily.

That’s why I really want to believe in a victory for the depressed Frenchman. He’s a guy who stays very clutch from the restart (and that could turn the Finn’s head). Also, Paire has the ability to unleash some aggressive shots (especially on the backhand) in order to get some valuable points. Not to mention his ability to be unpredictable and come up with some surprising drop shots.

Benoit Paire, to find Nick Kyrgios. An opponent who has never been able to beat him before. Well, well…

Prediction: Benoit Paire

High risk

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