Seventh seed Karen Khachanov will take on Kazakhstan veteran Mikhail Kukushkin in the opening round match of the 2020 Dubai Open. The match is scheduled for Monday, February 24th at 2pm local time (10am GMT). You can find the Karen Khachanov v Mikhail Kukushkin live streaming options along with its preview, head to head and tips here.
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Karen Khachanov v Mikhail Kukushkin Head to Head
This will be the second match between the two players. Their first meeting was in 2014, on the indoor hard courts at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, where Kukushin prevailed against teenager Khachanov.
Khachanov In Search For Form and Consistency
Upon winning the Paris Masters 1000 in 2018 defeating Novak Djokovic, and breaking into the top ten of the ATP rankings, Khachanov was talked about as a leading Next Gen member along with the likes of Tsitsipas, Medvedev, Zverev and others.
The last season (2019) was poor for the young Russian with early losses and unimpressive runs at the majors. Furthermore, a first round loss while defending his Paris crown saw him drop just within the top 20 in the ATP rankings.
Khachanov’s 2020 was off to a better start with four ATP Cup wins, but his Australian Open ended in a titanic battle at the hands of Nick Kyrgios in an epic five setter, where he showed glimpes of the form he displayed in 2018.
However, what followed was early round losses at Rotterdam and Marseille and again Khachanov was found lacking in results and maintenance of form.
With this his last tournament before the Sunshine Masters, the Russian will be hoping for a deep run here in Dubai.
Out Of Sorts Kukushkin Looking To Revive Career
Mikhail Kukushkin has been on the tour for more than a decade and despite all the promise he has shown, has never managed to maintain consistency in his career.
Kukushkin won his first ATP title in 2010 on the indoor courts at St. Peterrbsurg, and despite making three finals since, has not won another title.
The Kazakh broke into the top 40 in early 2019, after he made the final of Marseille Open in February where he was defeated by Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 32-year-old had little joy in the next few months until Wimbledon, where he made the round of 16, beating John Isner on the way.
He reached two more quarterfinals of ATP 250 events after that and the round of 32 at the Cincinnati Masters.
Coming into 2020, Kukushkin hoped to consolidate on some of the momentum built in 2019, but thus far it has been early losses at Doha, the Australian Open, Rotterdam and Marseille. He will be hoping for a reversal of fortunes this week in Dubai.
Karen Khachanov v Mikhail Kukushkin Predictions & Tips
Both players have been out of form and erratic in recent times, with Kukushkin looking to revive his career and Khachanov hoping to get his consistency back after the promise and results of 2018.
Expect hard hitting Khachanov to prevail in straight sets.
Tip: Khachanov to win in straight sets: 11/10 (Click here to get these odds with Unibet)