Two of the biggest and brightest Next-Gen stars are going to battle it out for a place in the semi-finals of Paris Masters 2018. The world number five Alexander Zverev will face world number 18 Karen Khachanov in the quarter-final stage of the ongoing Paris Masters.
Alexander Zverev has had a rapid rise to the top ten of men’s tennis where he has managed to remain for the last two years, despite strong competition from more experienced campaigners.
He already has nine career titles, including at the Masters level. He is widely touted as the future world number one and Grand Slam champion. He has had an up-and-down season, where he has done well in most tournaments, except the Grand Slams, something that has been an unfortunate downside of his young career.
But he has managed to win three titles. In the Paris Masters, he had an impressive straight-set victory over the world number 15, Diego Schwartzman. In his earlier match, he had another straight-set win over Frances Tiafoe, though Tiafoe did pose a lot of challenge in the second set. It could have been a much tighter affair had Tiafoe not sustained an injury mid-match.
Khachanov has had to play three matches, one more match than Zverev to reach the quarter-final stage, thanks to his lower world ranking (18). Unlike Zverev, it has taken a little bit more time for the 22-year-old Russian to come to his own. But he seems to have finally come of age this year. He has won two titles and has entered the top 20 of world rankings.
In this tournament itself, he has shown very good form. He has had two solid wins against Filip Krajinovic and Matthew Ebden, with the latter retiring mid-match while trailing 2-6, 0-2. But his most impressive victory was in the Round of 16, where he defeated the eighth seed, John Isner, in three tight sets, which saw two extremely competitive tie-breaks.
That victory against Isner must have given a lot of confidence to Khachanov. But because it was such a gruelling match, it would have sapped his energy too. Zverev is coming into this quarter-final as the fresher player.
The big-serving Russian may certainly pose some challenge to Zverev, but the more versatile German is expected to clinch his third win against Khachanov in as many matches.
Prediction: Zverev to win in 3 setsPublished 01 Nov 2018, 23:21 IST