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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Taylor Fritz should be able to kick on in the Far East

Californian could step up on his his opening outing

Taylor Fritz already has a victory to his name over Mikhail Kukushkin
1 of 1

WTA Wuhan Open
BT Sport 1, from 4am Wednesday
WTA Taskent Open
BT Sport 2, from 6am Wednesday

Taylor Fritz took time to get going in his Chengdu Open curtain-raiser on Tuesday, but the way the American finished the job suggests there could be better to come in China early on Thursday morning.

The reward for Fritz, a player with tremendous potential, after fighting back to oust Chun-Hsin Tseng 3-6 6-3 6-4 is a date with experienced campaigner Mikhail Kukushkin.

The Volgograd-born Kukush­kin, who represents Kazakhstan these days, has been in decent nick himself. But a trip to the Far East has occasionally seen talented younger players capture their first main-tour silverware and the oddsmakers were certainly full of respect for Fritz’s chance before the main draw started in Chengdu.

Fritz already has a victory to his name over Kukushkin – a 7-6 6-2 6-2 triumph on a Mexican hard court last year – and the Californian is definitely good enough to maintain a lead in his personal series with his opponent.

Kukushkin made light work of Tennys Sandgren in an opening 6-4 6-3 win over the American, but Fritz could prove a consider­ably tougher last-16 opponent.

Early risers on Wednesday could find Vasek Pospisil offers a bit of value against Joao Sousa.

Pospisil is still some way below his peak after seasons hit by illness and injury, but at his best he is more than a match for Sousa, who is carrying the hopes of Portugal superbly well.

Even earlier risers could find Anastasia Potapova capable of avenging her Moscow River Cup final defeat to Olga Danilovic in their Tashkent second-round clash.

Recommendation
T Fritz
1pt 4-6 general


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Kukushkin made light work of Tennys Sandgren in an opening 6-4 6-3 win over the American, but Fritz could prove a considerably tougher opponent
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