Fixture: (4) Andrey Rublev vs Karen Khachanov
Date: 15 June 2021
Tournament: Noventi Open 2021
Round: First round (Round of 32)
Venue: Halle, Germany
Category: ATP 500
Prize money: €1,318,605
Match timing: Approx. 3 pm local time, 1 pm GMT, 9 am EST, 6.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Andrey Rublev vs Karen Khachanov preview
The first round of the 2021 Noventi Open in Halle will see an exciting clash between compatriots Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov on Tuesday.
Rublev, who is also the fourth seed at this year's tournament, is coming off an underwhelming end to his clay swing. The Russian made early exits at Madrid and Roland Garros, and will be looking to reset at the start of the grasscourt season.
Khachanov, on his part, has had an even worse time over the last couple of months. The 25-year-old has failed to progress past the second round in three of his last four main-draw appearances.
That said, Khachanov has done well at this grasscourt event in the past. He has made it to the quarterfinals or better in the last three editions, and has a power-packed game that could pose quite a few problems for his opponents this week.
Andrey Rublev vs Karen Khachanov head-to-head
Karen Khachanov leads Andrey Rublev in their current head-to-head with a 2-0 margin. That said, both of the duo's previous meetings have been closely-contested affairs.
Andrey Rublev vs Karen Khachanov prediction
This is a fairly well-balanced matchup, given that both Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov are attacking baseliners. Neither of the two has had the best lead-up to the tournament though, and they will both be looking for a winning return in Halle.
Khachanov, in particular, should like the conditions here. The Russian enjoys playing on quicker courts, which aid his big serve and powerful groundstrokes. In fact, one of Khachanov's wins over Rublev came in the last-eight encounter here in 2017, and he will be hopeful of a repeat.
There aren't going to be too many long rallies in this match, as both men will look to go for the winner the first chance that they get. The result could, therefore, come down to their ability to keep their error counter in check - and that's where Rublev holds a slight edge.
If Rublev can protect his serve well and maintain his composure on the big points, he should be able to walk away with his first win over Khachanov on Tuesday.
Prediction: Andrey Rublev to win in three sets.