World number 17 Fabio Fognini will kick-start his 2021 campaign with a first round match against Michael Vrbenský in the 2021 ATP Antalya. The encounter will be played on January 8, with the match to kick-start at around 2 pm local time (11 am BST or 5 am Eastern Time). Get the live streaming options of this Fabio Fognini v Michael Vrbenský match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Fabio Fognini v Michael Vrbenský Head to Head
There have been no previous meetings between Fognini and Vrbensky before this.
Fognini Coming off a Wretched Season
It was a heavily curtailed year in terms of the competitions but quite a few of those who even featured in the second half of the season struggled to get going. Not too many, however, among the top players in the men’s rankings, would have had a year as wretched as Fognini did.
After reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open last year, Fognini featured in six tournaments all season and won just one main draw encounter – that came at Hamburg. In the remaining five, including the French Open, the Italian fell at the very first hurdle.
What would be particularly concerning for this former world number nine is lot of his underwhelming showing came on clay, his most preferred surface by some distance, and had it not been for the tweaked ranking system, Fognini might easily have fallen to outside the top 30.
As things stand, he is 17th in the world and has a chance to claw back in the rankings as he starts off a new season with an opening round match against a player ranked outside the top 300. Can he register a straight-set win here?
Qualifier Vrbenský Not Much of a Hard Court Player
Much like his opponent, Vrbensky also loves playing on clay and that can also be seen from his statistics across his career and the last couple of years.
In 2020, for instance, Vrbensky played in 46 matches on clay, just four on outdoor hard courts and seven indoors. Something not so dissimilar happened in 2019 as well when the Czech world number 311 played 53 matches on the red dirt while just six of them came on hard courts.
Which is why he would feel extremely proud winning his two qualifying round here in Antalya and doing that in straight sets would give him extra confidence.
And while he isn’t quite the favourite, Fognini’s form last season should allow Vrbensky bit of a chance to sneak in with a set or more.
Fognini v Vrbenský Prediction and Tip
Fognini starts off at 1/3 which is rather short given the pedigree of his opponent and we will be backing him to win it at those odds. A slightly more tempting is a straight-set win for Fognini at 10/11.
Tip: Fognini to win: 1/3 (bet365)