ATP Rome Masters Qualifying Predictions Including Dominik Koepfer vs Mikhail Kukushkin

Dominik Koepfer
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The first day of main-draw action at the ATP Rome Masters will also see the final round of qualifying completed. As ever, we here at LWOT will be bringing you all of the action, as well as offering our predictions for every match on day one in Italy, including Taylor Fritz vs Stefano Travaglia, Borna Coric vs Cristian Garin and Kei Nishikori vs Albert Ramos Vinolas. But who will advance?

ATP Rome Masters Qualifying Predictions

Jozef Kovalik vs Marco Cecchinato

Head-to-head: Kovalik 3 -1 Cecchinato

It is hard to believe that just over two years ago Marco Cecchinato was playing in a French Open semifinal, having beaten Novak Djokovic in the last eight. Since then, he has struggled to replicate that form, despite thrashing home hope Diego Schwartzman 6-1 6-2 to win the Argentina Open last February. Unfortunately for the Italian, that was his last win of note and he has picked up just one win at Tour-level so far this year.

But he has picked up two creditable wins in Rome, beating 12th seed Egor Gerasimov and Bradley Klahn. Jozef Kovalik has also struggled lately, although he did reach the quarterfinals at the Prostejov Challenger last week and has picked up wins over Evgeny Donskoy and Aljaz Bedene so far at the ATP Rome Masters. And perhaps crucially, this is a match up he has enjoyed, winning three of their four meetings, including their most recent match on a clay court. He should pull out the win here.

Prediction: Kovalik in 3
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Facundo Bagnis vs Mikael Ymer

Head-to-head: Ymer 1-0 Bagnis

Facundo Bagnis is a decent clay-court player, particularly at Challenger-level, but he has just one win over a player ranked in the top 100 so far this season. He faces the young Mikael Ymer, who has been playing some of the best tennis of his career recently and looks to have a bright future ahead of him. Ymer is, however, having to manage the transition back to clay-court tennis after playing at both the Cincinnati Masters and the US Open, failing to win a match at either event.

But so far the benefits of youth appear to be working in his favour, with Ymer having beaten Marcos Giron and Marc Polmans so far in Rome. He also beat Bagnis in their only previous meeting, albeit on a hard court. Nonetheless, whilst Ymer is not at his best on the clay, he is surely a better player than Bagnis and is in better form than the Argentine. Expect him to book his place in the main draw at the ATP Rome Masters.

Prediction: Ymer in 2
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Damir Dzumhur vs Federico Coria

Head-to-head: first meeting

The journeyman Federico Coria has always favoured the clay, much like his more illustrious brother Guillermo Coria who came to within a point of lifting the French Open trophy in 2004. The younger Coria had a fine result earlier this season, reaching the Rio Open quarterfinals and will be targeting another big run here after beating Paolo Lorenzi and Steven Diez. But he faces a potentially tough test up against Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur, who has been ranked as high as world #23.

Dzumhur has lost his way since achieving that lofty ranking, and he currently finds himself ranked outside the top 100. But he remains a capable player and thrashed Fernando Verdasco in the first round of qualifying at the ATP Rome Masters, losing just two games in the process. His game may be solid rather than spectacular, but that makes it relatively well-suited to the European clay and he is a better player than his ranking suggests. Expect him to prove just about too good for Coria.

Prediction: Dzumhur in 3
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Dominik Koepfer vs Mikhail Kukushkin

Head-to-head: first meeting

Mikhail Kukushkin has enjoyed a fine career, winning the St Petersburg Open in 2010 and twice reaching the second week at a Major. But recently, the Kazakh has looked as though his best days are behind him, although he did reach the third round at the US Open in his last outing. Dominik Koepfer, meanwhile, has plenty of talent and got the better of the veteran Gilles Simon in the second round of qualifying in Rome. Expect him to get the better of Kukushkin as well, who has never been at his best on the clay and may lack the stamina to stay with the younger man.

Prediction: Koepfer in 2

Main photo from Getty.