French Open 2021: Rafael Nadal v Alexei Popyrin Preview, Head-to-Head, Prediction

Published 05/31/2021, 6:53 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 14, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter final match against Germany’s Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane


The French Open 2021 has begun and both the players and fans are quite exhilarated about the tournament. The excitement begins from the very first round as World No.3 and the 13-time French Open winner, Rafael Nadal, will play his first match against Australia’s Alexei Popyrin.

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Rafael Nadal v Alexei Popyrin: Preview

Rafael Nadal will begin his campaign at the French Open 2021 against Alexei Popyrin. Coming to Paris after winning his tenth Italian Open title, Rafa has the momentum with him. He has won two clay-court tournaments this year and certainly looks the favorite to win the Grand Slam one more time.

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Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 13, 2021. Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates during his third-round match against Canada’s Denis Shapovalov REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

On the other hand, Popyrin has also enjoyed some success on the tour this year. He won his first ATP title in Singapore and has an impressive 15-8 win-loss record on tour this season. Interestingly, he just has one title less than Nadal this year.

While Nadal will come prepared to return the powerful and high serves of Popyrin, the Australian will have to find an answer to Rafa’s deadly forehands. The Spaniard uses the forehand to return most of the shots of his opponent and in a situation like this, Popyrin will certainly try to attack the backhand of Rafa.

Rafael Nadal v Alexei Popyrin: Head-to-Head

The two have faced each other only once in their careers so far. Intriguingly, the match was at the Mutua Madrid Open 2021, where Rafa thrashed Popyrin in straight sets. As a result, the World No.3 player leads the head-to-head battle 1-0 right now.

Nadal v Popyrin: Prediction

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Madrid Open – Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain – May 6, 2021. Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his third-round match against Australia’s Alexei Popyrin REUTERS/Juan Medina

Rafa will definitely be starting the match as the favorite player. It’ll not be amazing if he manages to finish the match in three sets only. However, Popyrin has the potential to turn the tables around.

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Standing 6’5”, the Australian can create a lot of problems for Nadal while serving. Fans recently witnessed how Alexander Zverev defeated Nadal at the Madrid Open by delivering some high serves at a speed of about 220 km/hr consistently.

Whatever be the case, fans are quite excited to see Rafael Nadal back on the court. Will the Spaniard be able to win his 21st Grand Slam in Paris this year?

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Anshul Singh

957 articles

Anshul Singh is a tennis author at EssentiallySports, currently pursuing Journalism Honors from Delhi University. Having significant experience with content, Anshul has authored over 500 tennis articles. He has previously worked as a writer and an editor for DU Express, penning riveting articles on sports, politics, and culture.

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