Madrid Open 2019: Fabio Fognini vs Kyle Edmund, match preview and prediction
It was a safe Monday at the Madrid Open as there were no surprise exits from the tournament, and all the top-ranked players remain in contention for the rest of the week. But there is a chance of some upsets today as there are a few unpredictable matches lined up.
The first round match between Italy's Fabio Fognini and the British number 1 Kyle Edmund falls into that unpredictable category. These two players will be facing each other for the second time after their marathon third round match at Roland Garros 2018, where Fognini edged Edmund in a five-set thriller.
Fresh from his victory in Monte Carlo, Fognini will look to continue the positive intent he showed there. But he's been given a rather tough draw in Madrid.
If he emerges victorious against Edmund today, he will face the Aussie John Millman or the American Reilly Opelka in the second round. After that, there's some really stiff competition waiting in the form of Dominic Thiem, who is probably playing the best tennis of his career.
Edmund, on the other hand, had a memorable 2018 where he won his first ATP tour level title in Antwerp and also reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open where he lost to Marin Cilic. He carved his way into the top 10 for the first time, thereby surpassing Andy Murray as the number 1 British player.
However, he didn't live up to the expectations in the latter half of 2018 and lost in the early rounds of various tournaments. 2019 has so far been much of the same; even on clay, he lost in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters to Diego Schwartzman after winning the first set.
Fognini seems to be in better form right now. That said, the young Brit cannot be ignored as he has the potential and the game to beat the Italian.
If Edmund plays his own game - aggressive strikes from the baseline - he is guaranteed to hit a few fair winners. But he needs to be wary of of the variety that Fognini uses on clay.
As far as Fognini is concerned, his effortless power combined with his claycourt acument should hold him in good stead. If he manages to stay focused throughout the match, he is likely to have the upper hand.
Match prediction: Fognini wins in two sets.