Just two days in and the ATP Cup 2020 has already thrown up a few surprises that will be difficult to top for the remainder of the tournament. The most notable upset was Norway's spirited win over heavyweights USA.
At the centre of the action was the young Oslo native Casper Ruud, who not only upstaged John Isner in singles, but also came back to win the doubles rubber with countryman Viktor Durasovic to give his side an early lead over USA and Italy in Group D.
Qualification for the knockout stage is still a distant dream and the first step towards that will be to register a win in their next tie against Italy.
Ruud will have to deliver another top performance if he wants to stand a chance against the flamboyant Fabio Fognini.
Fognini stormed out the gates against Daniil Medvedev in his opening encounter, but could not maintain the same level of focus in the second and third sets, losing 6-1, 1-6, 3-6. There were a few positives to take away though, including the tenacity that Fognini showed over the course of the match, converting the only 2 breakpoints he had.
Coming into the match, he would have known that opportunities to break would be scarce against a good server like Medvedev and the Italian did well to take his chances when he had them.
If he can show the same levels of resolve against a lesser-accomplished opponent in Ruud, he should be able to pull this one off.
That said, Ruud will be riding high on confidence following his win against Isner and will be a hard nut to crack.
Prediction: Fognini to win in three sets.Published 04 Jan 2020, 20:03 IST