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Cologne 1: Marin Cilic vs Alejandro Davidovich Fokina preview, head-to-head & prediction | Bett1Hulks Indoors 2020

Marin Cilic at the Bett1Hulks Indoors 2020
Marin Cilic at the Bett1Hulks Indoors 2020
Namit Kumar
ANALYST
Modified 15 Oct 2020, 00:17 IST
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Match details

Fixture: Marin Cilic vs Alejandro Davidovich Fokina

Date: 15 October 2020

Tournament: Bett1Hulks Indoors 2020

Round: Second round

Venue: Cologne, Germany

Category: ATP 250

Surface: Indoor hardcourt

Prize money: €325,610

Match timing: Approx. 4 pm CEST, .30 pm IST

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Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel

Marin Cilic vs Alejandro Davidovich Fokina preview

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at the 2020 US Open
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at the 2020 US Open

Eighth seed Marin Cilic takes on Spanish youngster Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the second round of the Bett1Hulks Indoors in Cologne on Thursday.

Cilic came into the tournament in desperate need of form, having spectacularly fallen from grace in the last couple of years. Be it mentally or physically, the Croat has been unable to replicate his former glory, which saw him reach three Grand Slam finals (winning one) and the third position in the world rankings.

Cilic, now down to World No. 40, has had a poor year by his standards; he has failed to make it past the fourth round of any tournament in 2020. The lockdown-enforced break didn't change his luck either, and Cilic carried a 4-4 W/L record since the restart of the tennis season coming into Cologne.

Things again got complicated for the 32-year-old in his first round encounter against Marcos Giron. After taking the first set comfortably, Cilic gave away the second set before eventually prevailing 6-2 4-6 6-3 in a match that lasted nearly two and a half hours.

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Cilic's opponent in the second round, 21-year-old Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, is relatively new on tour. But the Spaniard has high expectations around him given his solid results on the junior and Challenger circuits.

Davidovich Fokina has done reasonably well since the lockdown, reaching the fourth round of the US Open. The 21-year-old defeated Emil Ruusuvuori in straight sets in the Cologne first round to set up the encounter against Cilic.

Marin Cilic vs Alejandro Davidovich Fokina head-to-head

The meeting in Cologne is the first between Marin Cilic and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on the tour, so the head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.

Marin Cilic vs Alejandro Davidovich Fokina prediction

Marin Cilic at the Dubai Open 2020
Marin Cilic at the Dubai Open 2020

Although on paper Marin Cilic would be considered the favorite, the match is unlikely to be easy for the Croat. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina will come into this encounter full of confidence, looking to use his powerful forehand and variety from the baseline to exploit the indoor conditions.

The Spaniard is known as the 'Drop Shot King' on tour for his expertly weighted drop shot, and he also has the movement and footwork to back that up.

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Cilic on his part wouldn't mind the surface, given his natural power and massive serve. The Croat would, however, be looking to keep his first serve rate higher than the 53% that he put up against Giron.

Cilic has the game and experience to get through this match, but the Spanish youngster has the ability to make it a difficult task. If the 32-year-old has a mental collapse, Davidovich Fokina will take full advantage.

Prediction: Marin Cilic to win in three sets.

Published 14 Oct 2020, 12:51 IST
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