Rotterdam Open 2020: Fabio Fognini vs Karen Khachanov, match preview and prediction
The depth of the men's tour is an aspect that often pales in comparison with that of the women's field, but the many enticing first round match-ups of the 2020 Rotterdam Open are a testament to just how competitive the field is.
Fifth-seed Fabio Fognini will take on Karen Khachanov in one of the showcase first-round matches on Tuesday as the two men look to build on their positive starts to the new season.
This is the third meeting between the two men, with both having split their first two meetings. Interestingly, however, the two men played each other yesterday in doubles and might have gotten a sense of what was coming.
Khachanov, for one, will be eager to get back to winning ways after a slump in form that saw him drop out of the top 10 rankings. The big-hitting Russian has shown signs of a revival with good wins in the ATP Cup.
His campaign suffered a blip with early exits in Auckland and Melbourne and it will be interesting to see how he regroups, especially after that emotional five-set marathon loss to Nick Kyrgios at the Australian Open.
The new season hasn't brought in too much change to the Russian's tried and tested baseline game. He continues to fire big serves and forehand winners, whilst struggling with the variety that the likes of Kyrgios throw at him.
And luckily for him, that's not something that Fognini will be doing much of. The Italian plays a very similar game to Khachanov, with big forehands often winning him points in the rallies.
But the Italian is much stronger when it comes to moving around the court. He is known to glide across the length of the court, often being cited as the most proficient in that department.
It will interesting to see if Khachanov's firepower will be enough to outmanoeuvre Fognini. Both men are looking strong heading into this one, but Fognini might enter this one as a favourite to win. And win he should provided he keeps his focus on his tennis and that alone.
Prediction: Fognini to win in three setsPublished 11 Feb 2020, 01:16 IST