Fixture: Karen Khachanov vs Jan-Lennard Struff
Date: 22 September 2020
Tournament: Hamburg European Open 2020
Round: First round (Round of 32)
Venue: Hamburg, Germany
Category: ATP 500
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €1,062,520
Match timing: Approx. 4 pm CEST, 7.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | India - Sony Six
Karen Khachanov vs Jan-Lennard Struff preview
Russia's Karen Khachanov meets Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round of the Hamburg European Open on Tuesday, with both players looking to gain some form ahead of the French Open.
Khachanov has not had a great time since the start of the 2020 season, having exited early from the Australian Open, Rotterdam and Marseille. The Russian would have been hoping for a resurgence after the end of the lockdown, but has looked equally underwhelming over the last month.
Khachanov lost to Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round of the Cincinnati Masters, which was followed by another third-round defeat at the US Open, against Alex de Minaur. Khachanov was leading two sets to one before De Minaur overturned the deficit to end the Russian's American hardcourt season.
Khachanov's first match on clay was a three-set defeat to surprise semifinalist Casper Ruud in the first round of the Rome Masters.
His first opponent in Hamburg, Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff, comes into the match on the back of some solid form coupled with vast experience on the tour. The 30-year-old turned around an indifferent start to the 2020 season post lockdown by reaching the quarterfinals at the Cincinnati Masters, before reaching the third round of the US Open as well - losing to Novak Djokovic both times.
Like his opponent, Struff comes into the match after crashing out of the Rome Masters in the first round. The German lost to Federico Coria, in what was his first match of the claycourt season.
Karen Khachanov vs Jan-Lennard Struff head-to-head
The meeting in Hamburg is the third between Karen Khachanov and Jan-Lennard Struff. And the head-to-head rivalry currently stands at a stalemate of 1-1.
The German prevailed in their last meeting on the tour, at the Paris Masters in 2019, where Khachanov was the defending champion. Before that, Khachanov defeated Struff during the 2019 grasscourt season - at Halle - in three sets.
At Challenger level events too, the pair have won one match each against each other. Khachanov prevailed at Jonkoping in 2016, and Struff won at Geneva in 2013.
Karen Khachanov vs Jan-Lennard Struff prediction
Karen Khachanov has the superior ranking coming into this match, so he would be considered the favorite on paper over Jan-Lennard Struff.
Khachanov may not boast the most prolific record on clay, but his big-hitting game would hold him in good stead. Although he relies on his serve a little too much at times, the Russian also has very powerful groundstrokes that can hurt any opponent in the longer rallies.
That said, Struff has almost as big a game as Khachanov, which is coupled with a relentlessly attacking mindset. The German can more than hold his own from the baseline, but the key for him would be to keep the unforced errors to a minimum.
Prediction: Karen Khachanov to win in three sets.Published 21 Sep 2020, 23:44 IST