Olympics 2021: Alexander Zverev vs Karen Khachanov preview, head-to-head & prediction

Tennis - Olympics: Day 7
Tennis - Olympics: Day 7

Match Details

Fixture: (4) Alexander Zverev (GER) vs (12) Karen Khachanov (ROC)

Date: 1 August 2021

Tournament: Olympics 2021

Round: Final

Venue: Ariake Tennis Park, Tokyo, Japan

Category: Olympic Games

Surface: Outdoor hard

Live telecast: USA - NBC & Peacock TV | UK - BBC TV | India - Sony Liv.

Alexander Zverev vs Karen Khachanov preview

Alexander Zverev ended Novak Djokovic's hopes of a Golden Slam, recovering from the loss of the first set to dump out the top seed 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics.

The fourth seed will take on ROC's Karen Khachanov on Sunday in a gold-medal match that not many would have predicted before the start of the tournament. Khachanov beat Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets in the other semifinal.

Things looked to be unraveling for Zverev as he trailed by a set and a break against Djokovic on Friday. But the German fought back strongly and won 10 of the next 11 games to send the World No. 1 packing.

Zverev was imperious in his first four matches at the Tokyo Olympics, not dropping a set and committing just two double faults. But the fourth seed appeared to have met his match in Djokovic, conceding the opener in 36 minutes and dropping serve early in the second before scripting an epic turnaround. The German is now 32-11 for the year.

Meanwhile, Karen Khachanov, who is 25-15 this season, has faced a more challenging route to the gold-medal match. He has dropped as many as three sets en route to his first final of the year.

The Wimbledon quarterfinalist went the distance against local hope Yoshihito Nishioka (1R), Diego Schwartzman (3R) and Ugo Humbert (quarterfinals), but made quick work of Carreno Busta in the semifinals.

Alexander Zverev vs Karen Khachanov head-to-head

Alexander Zverev has split his four previous meetings with Karen Khachanov, so his head-to-head with the 12th seed stands at 2-2. This will be the first time they face off in a tournament final.

Alexander Zverev vs Karen Khachanov prediction

Karen Khachanov
Karen Khachanov

Both players possess powerful serves and groundstrokes, but Zverev's superior net game might just give him the edge going into the final. Moreover, the fourth seed has spent considerably less time on court than Khachanov, which means he should be the fresher of the two players.

Despite his height, Zverev is a great mover and can track down plenty of balls to prolong the rallies. The German also appears to have put his serving woes well and truly behind him; he has committed just three double faults all week.

But he will need to ensure he makes a faster start than he did against Djokovic if he is to become the first German male to win an Olympic singles gold in tennis.

This match could go down to the wire, with Zverev's superior conditioning and record in deciding sets shining through in the end.

Prediction: Alexander Zverev to win in three sets.

Edited by Arvind Sriram

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