Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: 2021 ATP Tour: Delray Beach Tennis Centre

2021 ATP Tour: Delray Beach Tennis Centre

We take a look at the ATP World Tour 250's selected round of 32 matches from the Delray Beach Tennis Centre. 

Photo Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

ATP World Tour 250
Delray Beach Tennis Centre
Delray Beach Tennis Centre, Florida, United States (Hardcourts)
Selected Round of 32 Matches - 9 January 2021

Ivo Karlovic (27/20) vs Pablo Andujar (11/20)
Ivo Karlovic will incredibly be starting his 21st year on tour this week. He will make the short trip from his Miami residence to play this event. Karlovic is 41 years of age and still manages to eke out an existence in these fringe events. It’s obviously down to one thing (and its not love of the game). Karlovic has a monstrous serve that is able to placate any opponent: he holds the ATP record for most career aces. This will always make him a dangerous opponent. Add to that his history in this event. He lost in the 2010 final before claiming the 2015 title. This event and court are just tailor-made for his bludgeoning tactics. Just look at last year’s champion: Reilly Opelka. Alongside Karlovic they share the honour of tallest ever player on tour. Karlovic will have benefitted from a long rest and should feed off the familiar climes.  

Pablo Andujar (while also a veteran at 34 years of age) sits at the opposite end of the tennis universe to Ivo Karlovic. It’s perhaps a bit harsh to call a four-time ATP champion a journeyman. But I still think that Andujar perfectly encapsulates that moniker. The clay-court specialist is an obstinate baseliner who will likely win 80 percent of the extended rallies against Karlovic. Andujar had a poor 2020 but looked much more impressive towards the back end of the year. Two tight defeats to Grigor Dimitrov and Yoshihito Noshioka saw him dumped out of the European Open and Paris Masters respectively. But his level of tennis had certainly been elevated. He will understand that this court will suit his opponent to a tee. He will need to take any half chance he receives on the Karlovic serve.  

Andujar actually leads the head-to-head 1-0. In fact, that victory came in this state in 2019: Andujar beat Karlovic in straight sets at the Miami Masters. I think this could be a different story. Andujar is the type of player who needs consistent tennis under his belt to play his best tennis. Karlovic loves these courts and will feel super relaxed going into this one. Expect tiebreaks and a Karlovic victory.  

Frances Tiafoe (8) (2/11) vs Donald Young (7/2)
This is an interesting all-American match between a former youth prodigy and one of America’s brightest young stars. Donald Young was one of the most promising junior players in recent tennis history. When he triumphed at the 2005 Aussie Open Junior event, he became the youngest ever winner of a junior Grand Slam. He finished that year as the youngest ever junior World Number One. But injuries and issues with confidence have seen him settle for a fairly humdrum existence on the tour. The talented 31-year-old finished in the top 100 in the ATP rankings every year between 2011 and 2017 (barring 2012). This will be his first competitive match since the Covid pandemic stopped the tour in March last year. He has done well to get through qualifying and reached the final here in 2015.

Frances Tiafoe was in a similar position to Young two years ago. He won this title and reached the Aussie Open quarterfinal. He looked poised for sustained success on the tour. But injury issues and poor form saw him plummet down the rankings. But the Covid break last year seemed to revitalise the 22-year-old American, on and off the court. Tiafoe became a strong voice in the Black Lives Matter movement, resulting in him claiming the 2020 Arthur Ashe Humanitarian award. His form on court also seemed to improve. He reached the 4th round of the US Open and followed that up with victory at the ATP Challenger event in Parma. He ended the season by reaching the semi-finals in Nur-Sultan. I feel like this will be a critical season for Tiafoe. Will he become another Donald Young (no insult intended), or can he carve a more successful niche for himself in this hyper-competitive tennis landscape?  

This will be the first time these two will have met on the ATP Tour.  They have met twice outside of the tour, with each winning once. Tiafoe will be the resounding favourite here. There’s a part of me that wants to get creative, but I can’t see anything else other than a straight sets victory for Tiafoe at 6/10.  

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