Marseille 2021: Karen Khachanov vs Mackenzie McDonald preview, head-to-head & prediction | Open 13 Provence

Karen Khachanov
Karen Khachanov

Match details

Fixture: (3) Karen Khachanov vs Mackenzie McDonald

Date: 10 March 2021

Tournament: Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2021

Round: Second round (Round of 16)

Venue: Marseille, France

Category: ATP 250

Surface: Outdoor hardcourt

Prize money: $787,930

Match timing: Approx. 3.30 pm local time, 8 pm IST

Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel

Karen Khachanov vs Mackenzie McDonald preview

Karen Khachanov is set to open his Marseille 2021 campaign with a second-round encounter against Mackenzie McDonald on Wednesday.

Khachanov continued his recent good run of form by reaching the last eight in Rotterdam last week. That improved his win-loss record for the new season to 7-3, and the Russian will be keen on making good use of Marseille's relatively open draw.

Mackenzie McDonald
Mackenzie McDonald

Mackenzie McDonald, meanwhile, started his week with a straight-sets win over Italy's Stefano Travaglia in the first round.

The American has gotten off to a strong start to the new season, reaching his first Grand Slam fourth round at the Australian Open last month. He has since gone on to win a Challenger title too, and would be feeling very confident about his game.

McDonald possesses all the elements needed to succeed on hardcourts, with an explosive baseline game. He also moves well around the court, and could ask a few questions of Khachanov.

Karen Khachanov vs Mackenzie McDonald head-to-head

Karen Khachanov is the only seed left in his quarter of the draw.
Karen Khachanov is the only seed left in his quarter of the draw.

This will be the first career meeting between Karen Khachanov and Mackenzie McDonald, so the duo's current head-to-head stands at a 0-0 deadlock.

Karen Khachanov vs Mackenzie McDonald prediction

With the early exit of eighth seed Yoshihito Nishioka, Karen Khachanov is the only seed left in this quarter of the draw. The Russian will, therefore, be fancying his chances of backing up his quarterfinal run from last week.

Khachanov seems to have found the rhythm on his groundstrokes, and he would be looking to make the most of the quick conditions in Marseille. His big serve will likely win him some free points too, and it will be on Mackenzie McDonald to come up with a way to counter that.

Interestingly, McDonald has a strong record against big-serving players; the American holds a positive head-to-head against the likes of Andrey Rublev and Juan Martin del Potro. That's a testament to McDonald's ability to handle pace, but he would still need yo protect his serve well and not let Khachanov settle into the match.

This could well end up being a showcase of first-strike tennis. Khachanov has an edge given his level of experience, but one cannot completely rule out an upset.

Prediction: Karen Khachanov to win in three sets.