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Kremlin Cup 2021: Men's singles draw analysis, preview & prediction

Andrey Rublev (R) and Karen Khachanov
Andrey Rublev (R) and Karen Khachanov
Vedant Chandel
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With the BNP Paribas Open drawing to a close this week, the ATP Tour will shift to Moscow for its next stop. Andrey Rublev will lead a packed field at the 31st edition of the Kremlin Cup, scheduled to be played in the Russian capital between October 18–24.

Rublev, who is also the defending champion, will be joined by countrymen Aslan Karatsev and Karen Khachanov. Marin Cilic, Alexander Bublik, Ilya Ivashka, Laslo Djere and Filip Krajinovic round out the top eight seeds.

With main draw action set to begin on Monday, here is a look at the prospects of the top names in the fray.

Top half: Marin Cilic, Ilya Ivashka and Filip Krajinovic look to topple Andrey Rublev

Andrey Rublev is the defending champion
Andrey Rublev is the defending champion

Top seeded players: [1] Andrey Rublev, [4] Filip Krajinovic, [6] Marin Cilic, [7] Ilya Ivashka

Expected quarterfinal: Andrey Rublev vs Filip Krajinovic

Dark horse: Tommy Paul

Top seed Andrey Rublev has posted some disappointing results in the lead-up to the tournament and will be looking to turn things around on home soil.

The 2019 champion will, in all likelihood, face seasoned Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in his opening match. If Rublev were to come through that encounter, he would well run into the red-hot Ilya Ivashka.

The Belarusian, who lifted the trophy at Winston Salem, possesses the sort of game that has troubled the best players in the world this year. He has made the quarterfinals or better of an ATP event on five occasions this season, and will be eyeing another strong run in Moscow.

Tommy Paul recently made the fourth round in Indian Wells.
Tommy Paul recently made the fourth round in Indian Wells.

Filip Krajinovic, Rublev's projected semifinal opponent, has a similarly difficult path. The Serb has landed in a packed quarter featuring former Grand Slam champion Marin Cilic and an in-form Tommy Paul.

Cilic and Paul could clash in a blockbuster second-round encounter, with the winner potentially taking on Krajinovic for an all-important quarterfinal spot.

Prediction: Andrey Rublev def. Filip Krajinovic

Bottom half: Aslan Karatsev, Karen Khachanov and Alexander Bublik fight for supremacy

Aslan Karatsev is the second seed.
Aslan Karatsev is the second seed.

Top seeded players: [2] Aslan Karatsev, [3] Karen Khachanov, [5] Alexander Bublik, [8] Laslo Djere

Expected quarterfinal: Aslan Karatsev vs Karen Khachanov

Dark horse: Alexander Bublik

The bottom half of the draw could see Aslan Karatsev take on the talented Miomir Kecmanovic in the second round.

Karatsev should be the favorite to come through that encounter, but he will need to be wary of a few other dangerous players -- including eighth seed Laslo Djere -- going forward.

Djere opens his campaign against the experienced Gilles Simon, with American Mackenzie McDonald potentially lying in wait in the next round.

Karen Khachanov could be one to watch out for.
Karen Khachanov could be one to watch out for.

Elsewhere in the bottom half of the draw, Karen Khachanov and Alexander Bublik find themselves on a collision course. The two seeds have been handed relatively simple paths leading up to the last eight.

Bublik opens against a qualifier and could take on John Millman in the second round. Khachanov, meanwhile, is likely to take on another Aussie in James Duckworth in his second-round match.

The Russian has been in top form during the second half of the season and could well be one to watch out for.

Prediction: Karen Khachanov def. Aslan Karatsev

Predicton for the final

Karen Khachanov def. Andrey Rublev


Edited by Arvind Sriram
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