Fixture: (3) Karen Khachanov vs James Duckworth
Date: 20 October 2021
Tournament: VTB Kremlin Cup
Round: Second round (Round of 16)
Venue: Moscow, Russia
Category: ATP 250
Prize money: $697,125
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel & ESPN | UK - Amazon Prime Video
Karen Khachanov vs James Duckworth preview
Khachanov has managed a few strong showings in 2021, reaching the quarterfinals at Wimbledon before winning silver at the Tokyo Olympics. The Russian has, however, suffered a slight slump in form since then and will be looking to turn his fortunes around at his home event,
Duckworth, for his part, has also enjoyed a successful season in 2021. The Australian reached his first career final in Astana last month and now finds himself on the cusp of a top-50 debut.
Duckworth has posted wins over top players like Emil Ruusuvuori and Illya Ivashka in recent weeks and will enter this contest brimming with confidence.
He got his Kremlin Cup campaign off to a strong start with a three-set win over Borna Gojo.
Karen Khachanov vs James Duckworth head-to-head
Karen Khachanov leads James Duckworth in their current head-to-head by a 2-0 margin. The Russian beat the Australian 7-5, 6-1 in their most recent meeting, which came at the Tokyo Olympics.
Karen Khachanov vs James Duckworth prediction
Karen Khachanov will enter this contest as the firm favorite, but the third seed will need to be wary of James Duckworth's dogged game.
Duckworth showed incredible resolve in his opening-round match against Gojo to bounce back after losing the opening set. The 29-year-old's newfound aggression, especially on return, has worked well for him this season.
The Australian was able to create as many as 12 breakpoint opportunities against Gojo, converting four of them. He will look to continue in the same fashion against Khachanov.
For Khachanov, the key will be to maintain a high first-serve percentage and not allow his opponent to make any inroads. The Russian has leaked a few too many unforced errors in some of his recent losses, and that's an aspect of his game that he will need to tighten.
If Khachanov can find a way to keep the error count in check, he should be able to fend off the challenge from Duckworth.
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Prediction: Karen Khachanov to win in three sets