Fixture: (4) Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Aslan Karatsev
Date: 13 April 2021
Tournament: Rolex Monte Carlo Masters 2021
Round: Second round (Round of 32)
Venue: Monte Carlo, Monaco
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Prize money: €2,082,960
Match timing: Approx. 2 pm local time, 5.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Aslan Karatsev preview
Stefanos Tsitsipas has been one of the form players so far this year, despite not having won a title. He started his season strongly in Melbourne, going on an eight-match unbeaten run before losing in the semifinals of the the Australian Open.
The Greek followed up that run with good performances in Rotterdam and Acapulco, losing to Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev in the semis and finals respectively. Tsitsipas was last seen at the Miami Open, where he bowed out in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Hubert Hurkacz.
Tsitsipas will now look to get his clay season off to a winning start against another in-form player - Aslan Karatsev.
Prior to 2021, Karatsev was a relative unknown on the ATP tour. But the Russian's stock has risen dramatically over the past few months, helping him break into the top 30 of the ATP rankings.
Karatsev was the surprise package of the Australian Open, reaching the semifinal after coming through the qualifiers. He defeated the likes of Diego Schwartzman, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Grigor Dimitrov in Melbourne before losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic.
The 27-year-old then proceeded to win his first title on the ATP tour, at the 500 event in Dubai.
Karatsev defeated up-and-coming Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti in the Monte Carlo first round on Monday. The routine straight-sets win would have given him a lot of confidence for his encounter against Tsitsipas.
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Aslan Karatsev head-to-head
The second-round match in Monte Carlo is the first professional meeting between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Aslan Karatsev, so their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Aslan Karatsev prediction
Stefanos Tsitsipas is the clear favorite for this tie on paper. But given Aslan Karatsev's incredible form this year, the match on Tuesday could prove to be complicated for the Greek.
Tsitsipas' all-court game has seen plenty of success across surfaces in recent times. The 22-year-old had a good clay season last year too, where he reached the final in Hmaburg and the semifinals at Roland Garros.
Tsitsipas' aggressive ball-striking and quick footwork will likely be of great assistance in the rainy conditions at Monaco this year. His serve, a usually reliable asset, could also play a key role in establishing the rhythm of the match.
That said, Karatsev has emerged as one of the most dangerous players on tour this year. The Russian has been putting up good numbers on serve himself, and has been able to smother his opponents with his raw power from the baseline.
Karatsev will try to take the initiative in the rallies from the get-go, but Tsitsipas is more than capable of being the aggressor too. Although an upset is not out of the question, the Greek may have a slight edge given his superior big-match experience.
Prediction: Stefanos Tsitsipas to win in three sets.