Fixture: (15) Karen Khachanov vs Jiri Vesely
Date: 1 October 2020
Tournament: Roland Garros 2020
Round: Second round (Round of 64)
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 Sports / Tennis Channel | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Also check out: The Complete French Open 2020 Schedule
Karen Khachanov vs Jiri Vesely preview
Number 15 seed Karen Khachanov will face the unseeded Czech Jiri Vesely on Thursday in the second round of the 2020 French Open.
Khachanov has been going through a rough patch for the past 18 months. After falling out of the top 10 towards the end of 2019, the former World No. 8 has seen his ranking plummet further to No. 16.
The Russian warded off an opening round scare at the US Open, but couldn't progress beyond the third round. And after transitioning to clay, Khachanov won just one out of three matches in Rome and Hamburg. More concerningly, he managed just three games in his defeat to Dusan Lajovic at the latter tournament.
But the 24-year-old made a bright start to his Roland Garros campaign with a straight-sets win in his opening match. Khachanov was strong on his first serve against Kamil Majchrzak, and seemed to have found his range from the baseline in an impressive performance overall.
Jiri Vesely, meanwhile, began his year by reaching the final at the Maharashtra Open in India. However, he suffered an opening round exit at the US Open after the resumption of the tour.
The Czech successfully ended his three-match losing streak at Roland Garros with a win in four sets over Liam Broady. Vesely took advantage of the slow surface and fired 14 aces, while winning 76% of his first serve points. The 27-year-old also had 36 winners in a fairly comfortable win.
Karen Khachanov vs Jiri Vesely head-to-head
The head-to-head between Karen Khachanov and Jiri Vesely currently stands at 0-0. Their upcoming match at Roland Garros is the first-ever career face-off between the pair.
Karen Khachanov vs Jiri Vesely prediction
Karen Khachanov has failed to deliver on his 2018 promise, putting up inconsistent results for a majority of the last year and a half. But the big Russian could well be looking at redemption this fortnight, with the conditions favoring his power-based game.
When on song, Khachanov's forehand can dictate rallies against the best of opponents. He has the muscle strength to generate serious pace even from way behind the baseline.
The heavier balls sitting up on the damp surface conditions this year aid his forehand all the more. The Russian would also have enough time to set up shots on his relatively less flashy backhand wing.
Jiri Vesely's playing style is like that of a carpet dancer rather than a claycourt matador. Even so, a majority of Vesely's 16 Challenger Tour titles have come on clay, with the Czech also winning an ATP Tour title on the surface.
The southpaw's big serve is reaping dividends in this year's conditions and could continue setting up more winners for him against Khachanov. However, Vesely is not always consistent from the baseline, and the Russian's hard-hitting game could extract errors out of the Czech or open up the court for easy winners.
Prediction: Karen Khachanov to win in four sets.
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