Attachment: (1) Benoit Paire versus Mikhail Kukushkin
Date: October 29, 2020
competition: Astana Open 2020
Round: Second round (round of 16)
Meeting place: Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan
category: ATP 250
surface: Indoor hard court
Prize money: 273.345 USD
Game time: Not before 6 p.m. ALMT, 5.30 p.m. IS
Live broadcast: USA – ESPN / Tennis Channel
Benoit Paire vs Mikhail Kukushkin preview
After saying goodbye in the first round of the Astana Open, top seed Benoit Paire will face local hero Mikhail Kukushkin in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
Paire has not been in top form since the ATP tour resumed. He had a catastrophic clay swing in Europe when he dropped out of the Rome Masters and Hamburg Open in the first round. The Frenchman was placed in 23rd place at Roland Garros, but didn’t make it past the second round of his Grand Slam home race.
Two weeks ago Paire played his first European indoor hardcourt event of the season in Cologne. However, his fortune stayed the same when Austrian Dennis Novak hit him in straight sentences.
Like Benoit Paire, Mikhail Kukushkin has struggled to play consistently this year. The Kazakh player crashed out of the Cincinnati Masters in qualifying. Although he had recovered well by the third round at the US Open, Kukushkin lost in the qualifying round of the Italian Open.
The 32-year-old then ousted Fabio Fognini in the first round of the French Open and even picked up a bagel in the fourth set. But Pedro Martinez ended his Roland Garros campaign by taming him in the second round.
Two weeks ago, Kukushkin lost to Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round of the St. Petersburg Open. But he’s got some momentum on his side right now after beating Federico Delbonis in the first round of his home tournament on Wednesday.
Benoit Paire head to head against Mikhail Kukushkin
Benoit Paire has never played Mikhail Kukushkin on tour before, so her head-to-head record is currently 0-0.
Benoit Paire vs Mikhail Kukushkin prediction
Both players’ recent form was not great. However, Benoit Paire has a slight advantage over his opponent due to his higher ATP ranking and greater experience with big games.
Paire’s mental approach will be key to the outcome of this competition. On his day, the French can outsmart anyone in the world with his diversity and court arts. But he often struggles to keep his focus for the duration of an entire game and gives his opponents a lot of free points through casual mistakes and double mistakes.
Mikhail Kukushkin, on the other hand, showed a lot of focus in his game in the first round and had a decent win rate of 79% on first serve. Unless Paire is playing more disciplined than lately, it is unlikely that he will get past Kazakhstan.
Forecast: Mikhail Kukushkin wins in three sets.
Published on October 28, 2020, 8:00 p.m. IST
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