This will be the first time that these two Spanish will compete against each other. There is 11 years of difference between these two men.
This will be the first time Alejandro Davidovich Fokina participates in this Dutch tournament.
Roberto Bautista will play in Rotterdam for the fourth time in his career. He has never yet been eliminated in the first round, and his best performance is a quarter-final in 2016 (the only time he has made it past the second round).
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina has been getting more and more attention in recent months. This young 21 year old player gives me the impression that he hasn’t finished his evolution yet. He’s a pretty complete guy who is able to annoy many Top 50 players on any surface.
Roberto Bautista Agut has what it takes to beat his young compatriot. He has notably this regularity in the rallies and this capacity for oppression that could do a lot of harm to Davidovich Fokina (and annoy him, because he is a guy with character).
The problem is that I don’t see Roberto Bautista showing up 100% for this 1st round in Rotterdam. Indeed, he has just come out of a tournament in Montpellier where he showed signs of physical weaknesses that I think should be taken into account. We especially saw him during his final lost to David Goffin. The latter managed to wear him down. The more the match progressed, the more the Spanish lacked lucidity. Not to mention his serve, which was gradually fading away.
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina is not to be taken lightly. He is a powerful man who knows how to do very well in these indoor conditions. We remember in particular that he won against Karen Khachanov at the last Masters 1000 in Paris-Bercy, or Marin Cilic in Cologne 1 (easier against the Croatian, indeed).
I want to believe in a victory of Alejandro Davidovich Fokina here. In spite of the little glitch in his foot that made him suffer in Montpellier, I expect him to be in better shape for this new match. His excellent mobility may well force Roberto Bautista to make extra efforts. Also, his power is not negligible. It should allow him to go and find some interesting points (he just has to take Goffin as an example).
Let’s not bury Roberto Bautista too quickly. The Spanish has enough experience to make a name for himself here. In addition, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina may tend to lack patience when there are long rallies, and that could play against him in this match.
I believe in the chances of the younger of the two Spaniards. Moreover, you should know that he has never lost in the 1st round of an indoor tournament (in 4 participations). Oh, this is a sign… All-in!
Prediction: Alejandro Davidovich Fokina wins