Fixture: (14) Fabio Fognini vs Mikhail Kukushkin
Date: 28 September 2020
Tournament: Roland Garros 2020
Round: First Round (Round of 128)
Venue: Paris, France
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: Approx €38,000,000
Match timing: 11 am CEST, 2.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - NBC / Tennis Channel | India - Star Sports/Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Also check out: The Complete French Open 2020 Schedule
Fabio Fognini vs Mikhail Kukushkin preview
14th seed Fabio Fognini will begin his 2020 French Open campaign against Kazakhstan journeyman Mikhail Kukushkin on Monday.
Clay is Fognini's best surface and the mercurial Italian has made it to the final 16 at Roland Garros two years on the trot.
However, the Italian has had a torrid time of late. Fresh off an ankle surgery, the World No. 15 has lost three out of the four matches he's played since the resumption of the season.
He was ousted in the first round at Kitzbuhel and Rome by Marc-Andrea Huesler and Ugo Humbert respectively, with his only win of the clay season coming against Philipp Kohlschreiber at Hamburg, before he fell to Casper Ruud in the second round.
Mikhail Kukushkin, on the other hand, made it to the third round of the US Open last month but struggled at the Rome Masters, where he failed to qualify for the main draw, falling to Dominik Koepfer in three sets.
Kukushkin has made the second round at Roland Garros just four times in his career and has a win-loss record of 4-8 in the tournament (including qualifiers).
Fabio Fognini vs Mikhail Kukushkin head-to-head
Fognini and Kukushkin have faced off four times on tour so far with the head-to-head tied at 2-2. Their first two matches came on the indoor hard courts of the Kremlin Cup in 2009 and 2014. Kukushkin won on both occasions.
Their first clay-court meeting was in 2016, in the round of 16 at Munich, where Fognini triumphed 6-3, 7-5. He followed that up with a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(6) win in Beijing last year.
The two players have locked horns on clay just once at the tour level but met in the qualifiers of the 2009 Roland Garros, where Fognini prevailed 6-3 7-6(4).
Fabio Fognini vs Mikhail Kukushkin prediction
Fognini relies on his excellent movement and extravagant strokeplay to win his matches. The hot-headed Italian is fuelled by emotion, which can sometimes work against him.
Kukushkin, on the other hand, does not display too much emotion on court and unlike Fognini, he has a conservative game that revolves around solid baseline play.
While Fognini is still a long way off his best and is slowly easing his way back to full fitness, he should have enough firepower to move past Kukushkin.
Prediction: Fognini to win in four sets.
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