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2019 Indian Wells BNP Paribas Open Quarter Finals: Rafael Nadal vs Karen Khachanov, Preview and Prediction

ANALYST
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442   //    14 Mar 2019, 18:34 IST

Nadal and Khachanov at 2018 US Open - Day 5
Nadal and Khachanov at 2018 US Open - Day 5

Second seed Rafael Nadal takes on twelfth seed Karen Khachanov at the quarter final stage of the 2019 BNP Paribas Open.

The two have met each other five times and the Spaniard has won all of those matches. In fact, Khachanov was unable to take even a set off Nadal in the first four matches. But their most recent encounter in a third-round match at last year’s US Open was a very close affair.

Khachanov not only managed to take a set off Nadal, but gave him a run for the money. It was a keenly contested match, where Nadal got the better of the young Russian by winning the last two sets of the match in tie-breaks.

Khachanov has had a breakthrough season last year, the highlight of which was him being crowned the Paris Masters champion. But the 2019 season has not seen the best of him yet. He lost in the third round of the Australian Open, and followed that up with three first-round losses at Sofia Open, Rotterdam and Dubai Open.

But he seems to have rediscovered his form at the BNP Paribas Open. After defeating Feliciano Lopez in three sets and Andrey Rublev in straight sets, he played his best match of the season against John Isner in the fourth round.

He broke the American’s serve once and did not allow Isner to break him. He had a high first serve win percentage of 79% and won a whopping 86% points on the second serve, which was a huge improvement from the 48% second serve points that he had managed against Rublev.

BNP Paribas Open - Day 10
BNP Paribas Open - Day 10

But he will face his toughest challenge yet against the world number two, Rafael Nadal in the quarter-final. The Spaniard has been in terrific form in this tournament. He has won all his matches in straight sets, and has not let his opponents settle in any of the matches.

In his fourth-round match against Filip Krajinovic, he had a creditable 69% win percentage on his first serves and was even better on his second serve with 83% wins. In his three matches so far, he had broken his opponents twelve times while being broken only once.

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If Khachanov produces his best tennis, he may have a chance against the Spaniard, but at the moment a Nadal defeat seems highly unlikely.

Prediction: Rafael Nadal to win in Straight Sets

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