TennisSection previews the 2022 Hamburg Open as Karen Khachanov takes on Fabio Fognini in the second round on Thursday, July 21st, 2022.
Both Karen Khachanov and Fabio Fognini survived opening-round scares. So how will the two fare when they square off against each other in the second-round of the Hamburg Open?
Karen Khachanov had one foot out of the Hamburg Open, but pulled off a great feat of escapology to avoid defeat in his opening match against an in-form Jan-Lennard Struff. The German wild card had been in terrible form in the first half of the season, but turned his season around in recent weeks and was well on his way to a famous win on home soil. Khachanovsaved a pair of match points at 5-6 in the decider before winning the ensuing tiebreak. The Russian will vie to reach his third straight quarterfinal when he locks horns against former Hamburg champion Fabio Fognini.
Fabio Fognini, for his part, reached the Round of 16 at the Hamburg Open for the umpteenth time. The mercurial Italian survived his very own dramatic three-setter against AljazBedene, incidentally, also winning in a third-set tiebreaker. The 35-year-old has saved his best tennis for the clay courts, which accounts for over half of his wins in 2022. Fognini has reached the quarterfinals or better in three clay-court tournaments this season. Is he about to make it four on Wednesday?
Karen Khachanov leads Fabio Fognini 2-1 in their head-to-head. None of those three meetings were contested on clay, and the pair haven’t clashed in two years. On clay, you would bet on Fognini having the upper hand. But this season has been unlike any other for the Italian veteran who lags behind the ATP’s top 50. His counterpunching skills on the surface were heralded among the best not so long ago, but it looks like his powers are waning. If Khachanov brings aggression and power to the table, I struggle to see the former Hamburg Open champion containing him.
Free Tennis Prediction and Pick: Karen Khachanov in 3 Sets.
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