Taylor Fritz and Lorenzo Sonego are shaping up to have quite the rivalry. Meeting for the fifth time in their young careers (including the 2018 Queen’s Club qualifying), the Italian will hope to avenge his recent 7-6 (5), 6-4 loss to Fritz in the Qatar ExxonMobil Open first round a month ago.
Fritz has certainly surprised in his first clay-court tournament of the season, defeating both Andrej Martin and Aljaz Bedene in straight sets en route to the Sardegna Open semifinals in Cagliari. Sonego, meanwhile, survived Yannick Hanfmann, 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-3, in a nearly three-hour battle on Friday.
Sonego and Fritz provided tennis fans with the undisputed tie-break of the year in the third round of the 2020 Roland Garros. Sonego ultimately prevailed 19-17 in the final set-breaker, taking the match in hard-fought straight sets.
Both Fritz and Sonego are armed with huge weapons on serve, and each prefers to be the aggressor, which makes for some fascinating tug-of-war type rallies.
According to the oddsmakers, this match should be close, with the Italian listed as a slight -120 favorite and projected to win by 1.5 total games. The dry and windy conditions in Sardegna make for a relatively quick clay court, which certainly helps Fritz more than it hurts him.
But in the end, at nearly even odds, it’s tough to pick against the Italian playing in his home country. Fritz has impressed this week, and has proven himself to be a capable clay-court player, but there is no substitute for familiarity and comfortability on the dirt, which should ultimately propel Sonego to victory.
The Pick: Lorenzo Sonego