Fixture: (21) Carlos Alcaraz vs Evgeny Karlovskiy
Date: 12 January 2021
Tournament: Australian Open 2021 qualifiers
Round: Second round
Venue: Doha, Qat
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Outdoor Hardcourt
Carlos Alcaraz vs Evgeny Karlovskiy preview
Carlos Alcaraz Garfia has made a name for himself even before turning 18. The Spaniard achieved a career-high ranking of No. 136 last year, and ended the season as the youngest player in the world's top 600.
Alcaraz has already proven that he can compete with the best at the ATP Challenger level. In his last six events on the ATP Challenger circuit, he has claimed three titles.
Alcaraz upset former World No. 17 Albert Ramos-Vinolas in his debut ATP main draw appearance at the 2020 Rio Open, prior to the shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. That feat made him the first player born in 2003 to win an ATP level match.
Alcaraz is being coached by former World no. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, and many have tipped him to become a top player in the coming years.
His opponent in the second round of the Australian Open qualifiers is 26-year-old Evgeny Karlovskiy. The Russian is ranked No. 258 in the world, and has one ATP Challenger title to his credit along with a handful of ITF Futures trophies.
Carlos Alcaraz vs Evgeny Karlovskiy head-to-head
Carlos Alcaraz and Evgeny Karlovskiy have never met on the ATP Tour or any other level on the professional circuit. Their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Carlos Alcaraz vs Evgeny Karlovskiy prediction
There is plenty on the line in this match, with both Carlos Alcaraz and Evgeny Karlovskiy hoping to make their Grand Slam main draw debuts.
Alcaraz came from a set down to defeat Slovakian Filip Horansky 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 in his first round match. The 17-year-old showed great poise and maturity to overcome the loss of the first set, in which he held four set points.
Karlovskiy also needed three sets to beat Argentina's Facundo Mena 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in his tournament opener.
A decade after making his pro debut, Karlovskiy is yet to break into the top 200. But while he lacks a big weapon in his arsenal, the Russian does have the ability to grind his opponents down from the back of the court.
Alcaraz is clearly the more in-form player though, and the favorite to win this match. If the Spanish teen can impose his aggressive game and not let the expectations weigh him down, he should be able to move closer to the Australian Open main draw.
Prediction: Carlos Alcaraz to win in three sets.Published 11 Jan 2021, 16:28 IST