Tommy Paul and Roberto Bautista have already faced each other twice this year on clay (in Monte Carlo and Rome). The Spanish won both matches by the same score: 6-3 6-4.
This will be the first time that these two men will face each other on hard court.
Tommy Paul is playing in this Masters 1000 in Canada for the second time in his career. In his first participation, in 2019, he was eliminated in the 2nd round by Fabio Fognini (in two sets including a tie-break).
For his part, Roberto Bautista will play in this tournament for the fifth time in his career. He has only lost once in the first round (in 2014) and once in the second round (in 2015). On the other hand, the Spanish had been eliminated in 1/4 finals in his last two appearances (in 2017 and 2019).
We will not lie, there are many green lights on the side of Roberto Bautista. Indeed, he has already passed the second round of this Masters 1000 in his last two participations and he has never lost to this opponent. Not to mention his considerable tennis skills. However, I would like to believe that the American will be able to win the match.
First of all, it will be the first time they will face each other on hard court. It is the surface of choice for the American. Obviously, Roberto Bautista is far from being a quiche on this surface. Tommy Paul, on the other hand, should be able to compete a little better than on clay.
Secondly, we have to point out Roberto Bautista’s faulty play at the moment. He has only won 50% of his last 20 matches (including 3 straight losses) and has lost at least one set in 65% of his matches. The Spanish player will enter this Toronto tournament without having played on hard court since April 2 and his defeat in Miami against Jannik Sinner.
Tommy Paul will have the advantage of having already played 3 matches in Canada (he comes out of the qualifiers) and this could allow him to enter his match more easily.
Finally, tennis-wise, Roberto Bautista is far from his best level. He certainly maintains consistency in the rallies (and that is definitely a danger for Tommy Paul who may lack consistency). However, the rallies are getting very involved in his games and he too often shows passivity in the rallies. This could benefit the initiative of his opponent of the day. The Spanish player may have some difficulties at the end of the match where he loses lucidity and lacks intensity in his shots.
Mind you, we are talking about Roberto Bautista. You know, that catchy, oppressive guy who can return a lot of balls and drop some nice forehands to make the difference. Unfortunately, he hasn’t found that incredible level yet and that’s why I can see Tommy Paul taking advantage of it.
Prediction: Tommy Paul
Prediction ² : Tommy Paul wins at least one set