Tournament: Astana Open 2022.
Round: First round (Round of 32).
Venue: Astana, Kazakhstan.
Category: ATP 500.
Prize money: $1,900,000.
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | Canada - TSN | Australia - beIN Sports.
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Mikhail Kukushkin preview
Third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas will face local wildcard Mikhail Kukushin in the first round of the Astana Open on Tuesday.
Tsitsipas has produced some brilliant performances this season, most notably winning the Monte-Carlo Masters for the second year in a row. He also triumphed at the Mallorca Championships, beating Robert Bautista Agut in the final.
The Greek also reached the finals of two Masters 1000 tournaments in Rome and Cincinnati, losing to Novak Djokovic and Borna Coric respectively.
Tsitsipas recently competed at the Laver Cup and played two singles matches, beating Diego Schwartzman 6-2, 6-1 before losing 1-6, 7-6(11) [10-8] to Frances Tiafoe.
Kukushkin has mostly played on the ATP Challenger Tour and the qualifying rounds of ATP tournaments this season, with his only main-draw win coming over Botic van de Zandschulp at the Miami Open.
He recently represented Kazakhstan at the Davis Cup Finals and lost both of his singles matches against Tallon Griekspoor and Tommy Paul.
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Mikhail Kukushkin head-to-head
Tsitsipas leads 3-0 in the head-to-head against Kukushkin. Their first meeting in Dubai in 2018 was a closely-fought one, with the Greek winning 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-3.
Tsitsipas then beat Kukushkin 7-5, 7-6(5) in the final of the 2019 Open 13 in Marseille. The Greek won their third meeting 6-3, 7-5 in Monte Carlo later that year.
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Mikhail Kukushkin odds
(All odds are sourced from bet365)
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Mikhail Kukushkin prediction
Tsitsipas will enter the match as the overwhelming favorite given his superior ranking and Kukushkin's lack of tennis on the main tour this season.
Tsitsipas has a strong and accurate serve which can fetch him a few free points. His powerful groundstrokes, especially his one-handed backhand, will be difficult for Kukushkin to deal with.
Kukushkin loves to play from the baseline, and his best hope will be in prolonging the rallies and hoping the Greek has an off day.
Barring a meltdown, Tsitsipas should be able to get past Kukushkin without too much trouble.
Pick: Tsitsipas to win in straight sets.