Jan-Lennard Struff vs Pavel Kotov - 2021 Antalya Open First Round
Friday January 8th, 2021 / 3:00am EST
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Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany faces Russian Pavel Kotov in the First Round of the 2021 Antalya Open in Turkey. The match will be played on Friday January 8th, 2021 at approximately 3:00am EST. This is the first tournament of the year and both players will be eager to get their seasons off to a good start. Will the favored German cruise to victory or does the young Russian have what it takes to pull off the upset?
Jan-Lennard is currently ranked #37 and is the second ranked German on the ATP tour. He had a mixed season in 2020, with some good early results after the restart before fading towards the end of the year. He possesses a huge game, with a big serve and penetrating groundstrokes that can trouble even the world's best. It remains to be seen if he is mentally ready for the new season after some devastating results towards the end of the year. If he has recovered from that then he will feel very confident heading into this match against an opponent ranked over 200 spots below him.
Pavel Kotov is a newcomer to the ATP Tour, having mainly played on the ITF and Challenger Tours. He is currently ranked #269 but was very impressive during the qualifying rounds and will be full of confidence. He is a solid player but has never faced an opponent of this caliber before so may struggle to adjust to the pace and intensity here. That being said, he will be confident and playing without pressure, and his opponent has struggled against weaker opponents in the past, so he will be confident of having a good performance. If he can get off to a good start then it will really put pressure on the German and his unknown mental state.
While Struff was disappointing in the latter parts of 2020, he should not have much difficulty winning this match. His groundstrokes are simply too powerful and penetrating and I expect Kotov to struggle to keep up. The courts should play in Struff's favor and I expect him to stroll into the Second Round. Jan-Lennard Struff to win in straight sets.