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PREVIEW: Atlanta Open – Selected Round of 16 

Damien Kayat previews the ATP Tour Atlanta Open Round of 16 matches between Frances Tiafoe and Taro Daniel as well as Nick Kyrgios vs Peter Gojowczyk on 27 July 2022.

Damien Kayat previews the ATP Tour Atlanta Open Round of 16 matches between Frances Tiafoe and Taro Daniel as well as Nick Kyrgios vs Peter Gojowczyk on 27 July 2022.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

2022 ATP Tour
ATP 250 Series
Atlanta Open
Atlantic Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia (Outdoor Hardcourt)
Selected Round of 16 and Round of 32 Matches- 27th July

Round of 16

Frances Tiafoe (8/13) vs Taro Daniel (5/4)

It’s amazing to consider that Francois Tiafoe is already 24 years of age. It seems like only yesterday that he won the Delray Beach Open as a 19-year-old.

The American seemed to have the tennis world at his mercy after reaching the quarterfinals of the 2019 Aussie Open. But things just haven’t gone according to plan for the big-serving Tiafoe.

Thus far, you would have to say that he falls into the ‘wasted potential’ bracket. The truth is this: he doesn’t seem to have much of a plan B when his aggressive style is thwarted.

He also sprays far too many errors in his efforts to restrict the length of points. Still, Tiafoe has managed to linger in the world’s top 30 due to the odd impressive result.

Last year he reached his maiden ATP 500 final in Vienna. And this year he reached his debut clay-court final in Estoril.

But his struggles with consistency remain. This will be his first appearance since a decent 4th round showing at Wimbledon. It will be interesting to see how he deals with the inevitable rustiness.

This looks like it might be something of an uphill battle for 29-year-old Japanese Taro Daniel. The counterpuncher won his one and only ATP title at the 2018 Istanbul Open. But he’s never really been able to establish himself as a firm presence on the tour proper.

He lacks the firepower of Tiafoe. In fact, if you were to combine Tiafoe’s power and Daniel’s energy you may have a rather complete player. But this year Daniel has shown the capacity to take down the odd big fish.

He defeated Andy Murray at the Aussie Open, becoming the lowest ranked player ever to take down the Scot in a Grand Slam. And he has looked extremely accomplished in Atlanta this week. He came through a tricky qualifying campaign (he had to beat number one ranked qualifier Adrian Mannarino).

He then caused a major upset by taking down Seb Korda in the first-round. Tiafoe’s relentless aggression could suit Daniel’s counterpunching style to a tee.

The Verdict: Daniel to win at 5/4- I was slightly surprised to discover that this will be the first meeting between these two.

Tiafoe is the clear favourite given his greater arsenal of weapons. But Daniel is street-smart and could spring a surprise on the somewhat one-dimensional American.

He will hang back in the court and hope for Tiafoe to overcommit. This has upset written all over it.

Round of 32

Nick Kyrgios (7) (46/10) vs Peter Gojowczyk (1/7)

Nick Kyrgios- tennis’ proverbial trickster figure- returns to action this week following his heroic exploits at the All-England Lawn Tennis Club.

Kyrgios’ maiden Grand Slam final was just the cherry on top in what has been an uncharacteristically consistent campaign for the fiery Aussie. Alongside compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis, Kyrgios picked up a morale-boosting Grand Sla doubles title in Melbourne.

That result seemed to galvanize the oft-complacent Aussie and a string of great results followed. He reached the quarterfinals at Indian Wells before semi-final stints in Stuttgart and Halle.

It will be interesting to see how motivated Kyrgios is this week. He won the title here in 2016, beating John Isner in two tight tiebreaks.

But the mercurial Aussie has been dealing with some off-court issues and he could be due an absolute stinker. You just never know with Kyrgios.

Peter Gojowczyk is almost the complete inverse of Kyrgios.

He hasn’t been blessed with anywhere near the ability of his Aussie opponent.

But the 33-year-old German journeyman is a tireless worker who tries to squeeze everything out of his game (he’s almost a slightly sub-standard version of compatriot Phillip Kohlschreiber).

Still, it has been four years since he reached the final of an ATP event. And 2022 has been pretty awful for the German: his best result was a quarterfinal in Acapulco.

But this switch to the hardcourts should suit the German. Lest we forget his surprise run to last year’s US Open 4th round. He is an industrial competitor who will look for any chink in Kyrgios’ armour.

The Verdict: Kyrgios to win in three at 28/10- This will be the first meeting between these two. The only play here is to go for a Kyrgios three-set victory. And it’s beautifully sound.

Kyrgios could always chuck a set without fear of scathing backlash: that Wimbledon final has bought him some brownie points in the tennis community. And Gojowczyk is just the type of dogged competitor who could exploit a slip in concentration.

But surely the Aussie will have too much class in the end.

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