World No. 85 Lucas Pouille of France will face World No. 105 Fernando Verdasco of Spain in the first round of the 2021 Belgrade Open on Sunday, May 23. Get the live streaming options of this Lucas Pouille v Fernando Verdasco match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Lucas Pouille v Fernando Verdasco Head to Head
They are 1-1 from their previous two meetings, but haven’t met each other in five years. In fact both of their meetings were in 2016, with Verdasco winning the last of his seven ATP titles in Bucharest by beating Pouille in the final and the Frenchman getting his revenge in the Round of 64 at the Shanghai Masters the same year.
Pouille Looking To Claw His Way Back
2019 Australian Open semifinalist Lucas Pouille is slowly making his way back on the tour after having missed close to one-and-a-half years due to a right elbow injury and a subsequent surgery.
The Frenchman, who reached a career-high ranking of No. 10, is 3-4 this year.
Pouille went down to compatriot Benjamin Bonzi in the first round in Montpellier, before winning his first tour match since the Shanghai Masters in 2019, when he defeated 286th-ranked Alex Molcan in the first round in Marseille. But he lost in the second round to Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Currently ranked 85th in the world, Pouille then bowed out of the first round in Marbella after a straight sets defeat to Ricardas Berankis. The Frenchman, however, registered his first top 100 win since Tokyo 2019, when he defeated No. 48 Guido Pella in the first round in Monte Carlo.
With the confidence back, the 27-year-old right-hander made it 2 from 2 in the tournament, defeating Alexei Popyrin in the second round, but was stopped by Alejandro Davidovich Fokina from going past the Round of 16.
A five-time champion on the tour, Pouile also has four runner-up finishes. He has a winning record on all the surfaces and is 36-30 on clay, winning his sole title on the surface in Budapest in 2017.
Verdasco Hoping To End Losing Streak
Facing Pouille in the first round will be 37-year-old Spaniard, Fernando Verdasco, who dropped out of the top 100 this week for the first time since 2004.
The Spaniard, who suffered a leg injury recently and also tested positive for COVID-19 last year, has struggled for form over the last two years and comes to Belgrade with a 0-4 record in 2021.
The last time Verdasco won a match was against Australia’s James Duckworth in Nur Sultan in October 2020. Since then he is 0-5, as he went down to John Millman in the next round in the ATP 250 event in Kazkhstan.
This year, the Spaniard lost to American Bjorn Fratangelo 4-6, 4-6 in the first round of the Miami Open.
The loss was followed by a 3-6, 3-6 defeat to Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the first round in Estoril and a 1-6, 4-6 defeat to Christian Garin in the first round in Madrid.
This week, in Geneva, the lefty was handed his fourth straight sets defeat of the year by Ilya Ivashka, who won the contest 7-6 (7-5), 6-4. A seven-time champion on the tour, Verdasco also has 16 runner-up finishes, but hasn’t played in a final since losing to Diego Schwartzman in Rio in 2018.
Overall, the former World No. 7 has a 230-149 record on clay and has won five titles on the surface. Currently ranked 105th in the world, Verdasco will be desperately looking to end his losing streak.
Pouille v Verdasco Prediction and Tip
It’s going to be an interesting battle between the two former top 10 players, who are both looking to regain form. However, Pouille will have a slight edge as he has won three matches this year, while Verdasco hasn’t even won a set in 2021. Expect the Frenchman to advance and setup a second round matchup with compatriot and fourth seed Adrian Mannarino, who has a first round bye.