TennisSection previews the 2022 French Open as NikolozBasilashvili takes on Mackenzie McDonald in the second roundon Thursday, May 26th, 2022.
After snatching victory from the brink of defeat, NikolozBasilashvili will be hoping for less drama when he faces USA’s Mackenzie McDonald. The flamboyant Georgian has only ever reached the third round of the French Open once in seven previous visits. Can he make it two on Thursday?
Nikoloz Basilashvili faced a daunting challenge in his first—round match at the French Open. The unpredictable Georgianwas under the cosh for the first two sets as Maxime Cressyserved his way into a two-set lead, hammering a flurry aces and winners. Cressy held a match ppoint in third-set tiebreak – theclosest he got to upset the 22nd seed. However, Basilashvili’s all-court game proved too strong for Cressy, whose reliance on one shot hardly served him out of trouble. The World No. 24 picked up just his eighth win of 2022 – a shocking return for a man of his talent.
Mackenzie McDonald, meanwhile, beat Italian lucky loser Franco Agamenone in four sets to advance into the second round of the French Open for the third year in a row. McDonald, like Basilashvili, did not have everything going to plan in the early stages as he lost the first set 6-1. He was broken three times in the first set as his serve malfunctioned badly. Things drastically improved in the second set as Agamenone began to show nerves. McDonald leveled and went on to win the two sets, saving a set point deep in the fourth set.
Mackenzie McDonald leads Nikoloz Basilashvili 1-0 in their head-to-head. That meeting took place a few months ago on the indoor hard courts of Rotterdam, with McDnald winning so routinely. The matchup at the French Open will likely have a different outcome. Basilashvili’s penchant for clay should be a major factor in swinging the advantage in his favour. But given how both players struggled to find their rhythm early on, we should perhaps expect a cagey affair in this one, but certainly with drama.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Nikoloz Basilashvili to win in five sets.
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