Nikoloz Basilashvili vs Andrea Arnaboldi - 2021 Antalya Open First Round
Thursday January 7th, 2021 / 4:20am EST
TV: ESPN (US), Amazon Prime (UK) Stream live sports and exclusive originals on ESPN+. Sign up now!
Sixth seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia faces the Italian Andrea Arnaboldi in the First Round of the 2021 Antalya Open in Turkey. This is the first tournament of the year and both men will be rearing to go and get their seasons off to a good start after disappointing campaigns in 2020. This is the second meeting between the two with Arnaboldi winning the only previous encounter in 2012. Since then the Georgian has had a significantly more successful career. Will Arnaboldi have what it takes to cause the upset?
Nikoloz Basilashvili has had a miserable past few years on the ATP Tour. Once a top 20 player, he found himself outside the top 50 for long stretches between 2019-2020. Now ranked #40, he will be extremely motivated to turn his fortunes around this season. Last year he had a particularly miserable time on tour, losing all nine of the matches he played since the restart, only winning one set in the process. He is a significantly more talented player than those statistics suggest, with huge groundstrokes and elite court coverage. That being said, those losses may have had a huge mental toll on him and it remains to be seen if he will be able to recover from them.
Andrea Arnaboldi is currently ranked outside the top #250 and is in the twilight of his career at age 33. His career has also been on a steady decline over the past few years so he will be equally as motivated to start the year off well. He is a solid player but has not played at this level since 2019, in addition to primarily being a clay court player. He is a powerful lefty with a strong one handed backhanded and will look to frustrate his powerful opponent with his consistency.
This is a match between two men in obvious decline, both being highly motivated to get their careers back on track. With that being said, Basilashvili is 5 years younger and has much more tour level experience than the Italian, so I give him the edge here. If he was able to mentally recover from a horrible 2020, he should be able to win this match quite comfortably. Nikoloz Basilashvili to win.