Fixture: Karen Khachanov vs Dusan Lajovic
Date: 24 September 2020
Tournament: Hamburg European Open 2020
Round: Second round (Round of 16)
Venue: Hamburg, Germany
Category: ATP 500
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €1,062,520
Match timing: Not before 12.30 pm CEST, 4 pm IS
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | India - Sony Six | Russia - Eurosport | Serbia - IKO Sportklub
Karen Khachanov vs Dusan Lajovic preview
Karen Khachanov survived in his opening round match of the 2020 Hamburg Open by the skin of his teeth. Down 3-0 in the decider, the Russian staged an impressive comeback against home favorite Jan Lennard Struff to win 7-6, 4-6, 7-5.
He will now face Dusan Lajovic in the second round at Hamburg. The Serb had a much easier time in his opening match, overcoming Adrian Mannarino in straight sets.
Karen Khachanov began his claycourt swing on the wrong note in Rome. The World No. 16 lost his opener to Casper Ruud, and seemed set to meet the same fate against Struff in Hamburg before he upped his game towards the end.
The Russian has been in poor form since 2019. The six-month pandemic-induced hiatus was expected to be a blessing for Khachanov, as many believed it would have given him time to regroup and come back stronger. However, that has not been the case.
Khachanov did display glimpses of his talent at the Cincinnati Masters, where he beat Pablo Carreno Busta. But he has gone back to his inconsistent self following that encounter.
Dusan Lajovic on the other hand has shown considerable improvement since the clay swing has begun. Widely known as a claycourt expert, Lajovic did not disappoint as he defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Milos Raonic in Rome.
The World No. 24 seems to have carried over his form to Hamburg, as evidenced by his dominant win over Mannarino. Lajovic produced a terrific all-round display to get the better of the Frenchman, who has a considerable amount of experience on the red dirt.
Karen Khachanov vs Dusan Lajovic head-to-head
Dusan Lajovic leads Karen Khachanov 3-0 in head-to-head match-ups. That includes two contests on clay - in Kitzbuhel and Madrid.
Khachanov, in fact, is yet to win a set against Lajovic.
Karen Khachanov vs Dusan Lajovic prediction
Dusan Lajovic has enough weapons in his armory to make things extremely tough for Karen Khachanov, especially on clay. That said, if Khachanov can find his big-hitting abilities from the baseline, he could turn this into a match.
Both players have the ability to cause problems with their serve. But what could tilt the tie in favor of Lajovic is his superior returning ability on clay. Armed with a good amount of variety on both wings, the Serb has the potential to wear down Khachanov by mixing up his spins and moving the Russian around the court.
The Russian's error-prone forehand and relatively inferior returning could be a significant factor in this match. And if he concedes as big a lead to Lajovic as he did against Struff, he is unlikely to stage another comeback.
Prediction: Dusan Lajovic to win in three sets.Published 23 Sep 2020, 13:51 IST