Tommy Paul vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga preview, head-to-head & prediction


Match details

Fixture: Tommy Paul vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Date: 17 May 2021

Tournament: Lyon Open 2021

Round: First round (Round of 32)

Venue: Lyon, France

Category: ATP 250

Surface: Red clay

Prize money: €419,470

Live telecast: USA – Tennis Channel | UK – Eurosport

Tommy Paul vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga preview

USA’s Tommy Paul will take on former World No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first round of the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon.

Paul, ranked 55th in the world, has had a mediocre season thus far, with a 7-9 win-loss record. The American’s best result this year came at the 500 event in Rotterdam, where he reached the quarterfinals.

Paul hasn’t been able to catch a break in the European clay swing, running into Andrey Rublev in Madrid and Roberto Bautista Agut in Monte Carlo and Rome. Although the 23-year-old couldn’t win either of those matches, he gave a good account of himself against Rublev, stretching the Russian to three sets.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Tsonga, meanwhile, has accumulated a 1-4 win-loss record in 2021 and is still looking to get back to full match fitness. The Frenchman underwent surgery on a torn left meniscus a couple of years ago, and has been on the comeback trail ever since.

Tsonga hasn’t played much over the last one year, and has come into Lyon in less than ideal form. His only win this year was against Feliciano Lopez in the first round of the Marseille Open.

It is pertinent to note, however, that Tsonga is the only player besides Dominic Thiem in the field to have gone all the way in Lyon. The Frenchman won the tournament in its inaugural edition in 2017, beating Tomas Berdych in the final.

Tommy Paul vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga head-to-head

The first-round encounter in Lyon is the first professional meeting between Tommy Paul and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, so their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.

Tommy Paul vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga prediction

Tommy Paul hits a forehand
Tommy Paul hits a forehand

Tommy Paul and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga have similar playing styles; they both possess a strong forehand and aggressive footwork. And while Paul is arguably the more consistent shotmaker, the French veteran has a more diverse artillery.

Tsonga’s big serve and powerful groundstrokes make him a force to be reckoned with on all surfaces. The USP of his game, however, is his ability to mix up his play when least expected.

Paul, meanwhile, happens to be the owner of one of the deadliest forehands on the men’s tour right now. The American also possesses a wide array of options when it comes to executing his kill-shot; he can either hit it flat or douse the ball with heavy topspin.

Tsonga would have to avoid getting into long rallies with Paul given the more consistent power on the 23-year-old’s forehand. The Frenchman can, instead, use his experience and court smarts to throw Paul off-balance and eventually outplay him. The fact that Tsonga is playing at home would also help a great deal.

Prediction: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to win in three sets.


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