Date: 15 October 2020
Tournament: St. Petersburg Open 2020
Round: Second round (Round of 16)
Venue: St. Petersburg, Russia
Category: ATP 500
Surface: Indoor hardcourt
Prize money: $1,243,790
Match timing: Not before 6.30 pm Moscow Standard Time, 9 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | India - Sony Six
Karen Khachanov vs Aslan Karatsev preview
Compatriots Karen Khachanov and Aslan Karatsev will square off against each other in the second round of the 2020 St. Petersburg Open on Thursday.
The two players had contrasting wins in their opening-round matches. On the one hand, Karen Khachanov won his encounter against James Duckworth in straight sets, while on the other, Aslan Karatsev had to toil hard for a three-set victory over Tennys Sandgren.
The 4th-seeded Khachanov came into his home tournament on the back of an impressive run at Roland Garros, where he made the fourth round. But the World No.17 has a poor record at this tournament, where he’s never made it past the second round.
Needless to say, with the tournament bumped up to the ATP 500 category this year, Khachanov will be eager to put in a good performance.
His opponent, Aslan Karatsev, is not a very well-known name on the ATP tour but is a force to reckon with on the Challenger and Futures circuit.
Since the resumption of tennis, Karatsev has played in three Challenger events (two in Prague and one in Ostrava). The 27-year-old won two of these tournaments and was a runner-up in the third one.
Karatsev has won 16 out of his last 17 matches, with his only loss coming at the hands of Stan Wawrinka in Prague. At the French Open, Karatsev reached the final qualifying round before he lost to Sebastian Korda.
The St. Petersburg Open holds a special place in Karatsev's heart as he made his ATP tour debut at this tournament back in 2013. Much like his compatriot Khachanov, he too would be eager to make a mark in this year’s event.
Karen Khachanov vs Aslan Karatsev head-to-head
The head-to-head between Karen Khachanov and Aslan Karatsev currently stands at 0-0 since they have never met on the ATP tour.
That said, they have played each other thrice in Qualifying, Challenger and Futures matches, with Karen Khachanov leading by a margin of 2-1.
Karen Khachanov vs Aslan Karatsev prediction
On paper, this is a match-up that should be straightforward for a player of the caliber of Karen Khachanov. However, Aslan Karatsev has proven in recent times that he is far from a pushover.
Karatsev comes in with a considerable amount of hardcourt experience and will be looking to make good use of that on Thursday. Khachanov is known for his inconsistency which has prevented him from living up to the expectations, and Karatsev is capable of denting his reputation even more.
Having said that, the younger Russian seems to have adapted well to the indoor conditions, and he might hold the edge in this encounter given his superior firepower.
Prediction: Karen Khachanov to win in three sets.